February 22, 2019
Black cab drivers in Birmingham are set to stage a two-week protest with concerns over their livelihood.
The ‘go-slow’ protests are being put in place as taxi drivers fear that the new demands could see many forced out the trade. The action against the clean air restrictions comes as drivers say “75 percent of their fleet could be taken out of service”.
Compliance for Black Cabs
Figures provided by the council, show only 72 of the 1,265 black cabs licensed to operate in Birmingham, will be in line with new emissions standards brought into effect from January 2020.
The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMT) state that Birmingham City Council is disregarding the potential affects the new move could have on drivers.
Taxi Trade Concerns
It’s feared that a substantial reduction in black cabs would be seen, many of which are wheelchair accessible and would directly impact those who require this need.
The local authority has placed a multi-million-pound bid to the government’s Clean Air Fund to purchase 50 ultra-low emission vehicles and include £5000 individual support packages to help drivers purchase compliant taxis.
Raja Amin, of RMT, said: “The council wants drivers to convert to LPG or electric vehicles and have authorised one company to carry out this work. But this company haven’t got the infrastructure in place to allow vehicles to charge or convert within the time frame imposed on them.”
Funding to Support Taxi Trade
A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council said: “We recognise the impact that the introduction of a Clean Air Zone will have. We’ve applied to the government for some funding for a range of measures to support hackney carriage and private hire drivers in making the switch to compliant vehicles or upgrading their existing vehicles.
“We’ve also consulted the general public and the taxi trade to prepare licensing policies in readiness for the Clean Air Zone. As a result of feedback, received from almost 1,400 individuals and organisations, we have made a number of changes to our proposal.”
A report on the new proposals will be drawn by the council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee on the 13th of March.