TAXI drivers protested in the city centre this week, claiming they are being charged some of the highest fees in the country.
Around 200 drivers gathered outside County Hall on Wednesday to show their frustrations at rising fees and Wakefield Council’s enforcement policy.
The costs of renewing a licence have gone up by around £20, and drivers said they are made to pay around £45 to have their vehicles re-tested even for minor failures such as faulty bulbs.
They said they sometimes had licence plates confiscated on a Friday for minor faults, and would not get them back until Monday, missing the busy weekend period and costing them most of their week’s income.
Javed Iqbal, chairman of the Wakefield Private Hire Association, said drivers had had concerns for about four years.
He said: “This peaceful protest was a culmination of frustrations that have built over a number of years.
“We hope that elected members have seen the level of feeling, unrest and tension over this and that we can work together to resolve the outstanding issues.”
Coun Nadeem Ahmed said taxi drivers were being “messed around”.
He said: “Taxi drivers work incredibly hard and do not have an easy job. They take drunk people home on a weekly basis, people give them abuse and spit in their faces, and it is all considered a normal part of the job.”
Cabinet members said test fees had increased for the first time in three years and that they would review re-test costs and criteria.
They will meet with Wakefield Private Hire Association on August 2 to try and resolve their issues.
Coun Graham Stokes said: “We remain open and willing to work with the taxi and private hire community but we cannot and will not compromise the safety of the public when they use taxis.”
Coun Maureen Cummings said: “Enforcement action is only taken when necessary and is only done to protect the public. If a vehicle isn’t fit to be on the road, it shouldn’t be on the road.”