December 3, 2018
Opposing views were held at a meeting between taxi drivers and a senior councillor over plans to charge taxis for driving into Sheffield city centre.
Concerns Voiced at Meeting
Cabinet Member for Transport, Councillor Jack Scott, faced concerns from taxi drivers during the two-hour meeting. Scott was glad to be in attendance to discuss the topic and looks forward to more meetings in the future.
Both hackney carriage and private hire taxi drivers have raised their concerns over plans to introduce a Clean Air Zone around the ring road and inner ring road which would see £50 charges applied each day for buses and £10 charges a day for taxis, lorries, vans and coaches.
Currently, private cars are not affected but, if implemented, taxi drivers say all vehicles should have to pay. They say they feel unfairly treated as there are 185,000 private cars but only 3,000 hold a hackney carriage licence.
Sheffield Taxi Trade Support Need for Safer Air
Shahid Ali, community campaigner, attended the meeting and said: “Councillor Scott has to be applauded for turning up to this meeting but there were a lot of angry drivers, unhappy with the charges they’ll face with an already troubled trade.
“Unfortunately, the council has made taxi drivers the focus in their initiative. Three per-cent of vehicles are taxis, and the main heavy polluters are the trains and lorries.”
Councillor Scott said: “I was really pleased to be able to attend the meeting of the Sheffield Taxi Trade Association.
“As you would expect, taxi drivers had robust views on what the government are requiring us to do. They also completely understood the need to have safer air.
“It’s really important we listen to their views and concerns, so we can put the right package of grants, loans, investment and support in place to help improve and upgrade Sheffield’s taxis.”
Final Decision Depends on Funding
The plan depends on whether the government can secure £40 million to pay for signs and cameras highlighting a Clean Air Zone.
Around £10 million worth of loans and grants will help taxi drivers to upgrade their vehicles to comply with the proposed rules. The government will make their decision on the funding at the beginning of 2019.