Taxi drivers plan Tour de Strike

Scarborough Taxis . 142211b

Scarborough Taxis . 142211b

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Taxi drivers are threatening to go on strike in a row with the council over proposed changes to vehicle licensing rules.

Hackney and private hire drivers could refuse to work during the Tour de Yorkshire - a cycle race expected to draw thousands of spectators to the city on May 3 and 4.

Drivers’ representatives said new restrictions on the age of vehicles and requirements to have cars tested more often were proposed.

They claim the council has refused to meet them after a consultation on the changes was suspended until after the May 7 election.

Strikes are proposed on Saturday, May 3, and Sunday May 4, on Monday, May 11, and the weekend of May 24 and 25.

The city’s Private Hire and Hackney associations said in a joint statement: “Both associations regret that members of the public will be caused inconvenience by the proposed strike. However if Wakefield Council agrees to a meeting then the proposed strikes will not take place.”

The drivers’ associations said the changes would increase fares and reduce the number of taxis but would not improve the quality of services for passengers.

The statement said: “It should be noted that Wakefield Council has one of the highest fees changed to the trade throughout the country.”

The council’s consultation was suspended because of legal rules on publicity during elections.

Bernadette Livesey, service director for legal and governance, said: “We are surprised and disappointed to hear today of this proposed taxi strike. We meet with the drivers’ associations frequently and it is not true that talks have broken down.

“We have simply suspended a consultation on proposed restrictions on the age of vehicles which can be used as taxis, or for private hire, in accordance with legislation governing activity during the pre-election period.

“We will be meeting the drivers’ representatives immediately after the election to discuss this more fully with them.”