Bury black-cab drivers may protest at Christmas

Bury Times: Bury black-cab drivers may protest at Christmas Bury black-cab drivers may protest at Christmas

BLACK-CAB drivers could protest over the festive period if crisis talks between Bury Council and drivers’ representatives fail.

That is the stark warning from Charles Oakes, chairman of The Hackney Drivers Association Ltd, who claims relations with Town Hall bosses on vehicle issues have turned sour.

Mr Oakes, who represents 105 black-cab drivers in the borough, wants the council’s licensing committee to consider changing the controversial five-point rule.

The rule states that vehicles aged six years or over cannot be used as taxis if they fail more than five elements on their MoT.

Mr Oakes claims it is unfair because the same rules are not applied to private hire vehicles and one in 10 of those are the same make and model as black cabs Mr Oakes said: “These private hire vehicles could get to eight or nine years and still be used even if they need lots of repairs, whereas a vehicle that is exactly the same make and model that happens to be a black cab could be much younger and in much better shape and fail. Where is the sense?”

He added: “The end result is that drivers’ livelihoods are put at risk because they end up stuck with cars that are five years old and they can’t make a living. It’s putting people out of work.”

However, Bury Council bosses maintain that the current rules are steadfast and keep taxi passengers safe.

Mr Oakes said he has referred the issue to the Local Government Ombudsman in the hope of breaking the stalemate.

He is meeting with local authority leaders next Tuesday and says that, if there is not significant progress towards exploring an alternative to the five-fault rule, his drivers will protest.

“It could be a go-slow protest drive through the town centre, or it could be a significant withdrawal of services over the Christmas period. We are considering all options,” said Mr Oakes.

He added: “We’ve threatened action for so long but never followed through. Now could be the time.”

The licensing committee chairman, Cllr David Jones, said: “We do want to help drivers where it is reasonable.

“In June this year, the five-fault rule was amended to make passing the test more achievable in respect of bodywork and paintwork damage.

“The first priority of us as a licensing authority is that taxi customers travel in safety and comfort.”

Comments (2)

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3:34pm Fri 29 Nov 13

Mr. Marcus says...

I, for one, will not be taking any black taxis.
They are so expensive, and many of them should take a roadworthy test.
I, for one, will not be taking any black taxis. They are so expensive, and many of them should take a roadworthy test. Mr. Marcus

7:45pm Fri 29 Nov 13

Babbar Divino says...

Mr. Marcus wrote:
I, for one, will not be taking any black taxis.
They are so expensive, and many of them should take a roadworthy test.
Cost aside all hire vehicles should be subject to the same safety regulations. I can tell you the road would be a safer place if some of these "private hire vehicles" had the same regulations enforced on them as these black cabs. Why are black cabs being singled out? Who involved in the council would have a personal interest in this?
[quote][p][bold]Mr. Marcus[/bold] wrote: I, for one, will not be taking any black taxis. They are so expensive, and many of them should take a roadworthy test.[/p][/quote]Cost aside all hire vehicles should be subject to the same safety regulations. I can tell you the road would be a safer place if some of these "private hire vehicles" had the same regulations enforced on them as these black cabs. Why are black cabs being singled out? Who involved in the council would have a personal interest in this? Babbar Divino

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