BOSSES at a Bradford taxi firm have spoken about the struggles to afford costs associated with the introduction of a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in January.

Sahil Iqbal, manager of Dial A Ride Bradford and Shipley Taxis, is also urging Bradford Council to help avert Bradford Taxi Action Group’s (BTAG) plans for a taxi strike on May 13 and 14, which he said could result in the taxi trade “losing a lot of money”.

BTAG has also said the full strike action could cause major disruption to Eid celebrations.

Mr Iqbal said: “In my personal opinion, I think that they shouldn’t introduce the CAZ because due to Covid-19 and lockdowns taxi drivers haven’t been able to earn money.

“Some drivers don’t even make up to 50 to 60 quid a day, and they want to introduce the Clean Air Zone. It makes no sense.

“If it goes ahead this means taxi drivers will have to fork out money for either a car with a Euro 6 engine, hybrid or full electric car and that is a lot of money, but the other option is to pay £12.50 per day and that is still a lot of money as drivers hardly make any money these days due to Covid-19.

“Our drivers haven’t been making enough money. They simply can’t afford the costs associated with introducing a Clean Air Zone."

Muzakhir Afzal, owner of Dial A Ride and FTB Private Hire, said: "Drivers are just not making as much as they used to."

And Mr Iqbal said: "The grants offered by the council towards hybrid or electric cars are not enough.

“Drivers are not making a suitable amount of money to afford these cars.”

Mr Afzal said the cars could cost roughly around £15,000 to £18,000.

Mr Iqbal added: “There has just not been the same level of work because people have been scared of the virus and have not been coming out of the houses.

Mr Iqbal had said that a Clean Air Zone proposed for Leeds had failed and he said Bradford should follow suit.

“Bradford is such a small town and they’re talking that a Clean Air Zone would cover some of the busiest roads in Bradford.

“I would like to see Bradford Council respond to Bradford Taxi Action Group’s request by May 4.”

BTAG, like Mr Iqbal, is concerned about the impact a CAZ would have on taxi drivers.

“If this strike goes ahead, we will lose a lot of money,” added Mr Iqbal.

A spokesperson for Bradford Council said: “The council works well with a number of trade organisations which represent the taxi trade and they comply with the rules set out.

“The council is under Government directive to introduce a Clean Air Zone and is therefore duty bound to comply.

“We are continuing to have conversations with the trade to support drivers to adapt and have already secured higher levels of grants from the Government for taxi and private hire drivers than other Clean Air Zone local authorities have received.

“We value the district’s taxi drivers as an important part of our public transport service, they have had a very difficult year and we are grateful for all they have done in these challenging times.”