Council urged to scrap ‘six point ban’ for Wakefield taxi drivers as cabbies prepare for Town Hall protest

Councillors in Wakefield will be asked to reconsider it’s “unfair” taxi driver suitability policy as the city’s cabbies plan to stage a Town Hall protest.

By Tony Gardner
Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 7:23 am

Taxi drivers who rack up more than six points on their licence in three years face lengthy bans from the trade under the local authority’s current policy.

In March, drivers from the Wakefield Driving Association (WDA) picketed the Town Hall over the policy and called for senior councillors to resign

WDA members plan a further protest tomorrow (July 20), the same day a full Council meeting will be asked to consider a motion to make policy changes, including scrapping the six point ban.

Councillors in Wakefield will be asked to reconsider it’s “unfair” taxi driver suitability policy.

Taxi drivers and the council have been at a crossroads since 2019 when the suitability policy was brought forward.

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WDA president Yasar Ahmed said that drivers in the district were “promised so much” before the elections but nothing has come to fruition yet.

The council does not recognise WDA as a trade organisation but says it “continues to liaise with them.”

Drivers from the Wakefield Driving Association (WDA) have previously picketed the Town Hall over the licensing policy.

The WDA is also calling for an extension on ‘grandfather rights’, which means eligible cabbies will be able to extend the life of their vehicle for a given period of time due to the pandemic and cost of living crisis.

Mr Ahmed said: “A full council meeting is scheduled for July 20 which is why we have chosen this date to protest.

“We’ve had to do this because we don’t have another option.

“Whatever needs to be done, needs to be done now.”

Mr Ahmed said that WDA’s demands are about “equal rights”.

He said: “It is not just about the rules of the road.”

“It is fair enough that they want us to abide by the rules of the road. Let’s say I buy an electric car, they would say it’s over 10 years old so I can’t drive it.

“But, council vehicles don’t have a 10-year age limit. There is one rule for them and another for us.”

A motion, proposed by Nadeem Ahmed, Conservative councillor for Wakefield South, is calling on the Council to:

- Scrap the six point ban on drivers.

- Extend vehicle age limits so that taxi drivers do not need to buy new cars after 10 years for a saloon vehicle and 12 years for a multi-seater.

- Deliver an extension on grandfather rights, which means eligible drivers will be able to extend the life of their vehicle for a given period of time.

- Introduce a new consultation framework to improve dialogue between drivers and the Council

- Remove the requirement which instructs drivers to take out manufacturer-fitted sun protection glass.

- Allow hybrid and electric cars to have a longer license as an incentive for drivers to do more to help the environment.

- Prepare a report for the September meeting of Full Council.

Glynn Humphries, Wakefield Council’s Corporate Director for Communities, Environment and Climate Change, said: “The council continues to be committed to working with the taxi trade whilst protecting the health and wellbeing of the travelling public.

“Policies are reviewed on an ongoing basis which is overseen by the Licensing Committee.”