Sunday, July 27, 2008

Taxi Anger

Right, apologies to regulars for lack of posts, I just seem to have stopped. However tonight (well it's almost light now so this morning really) I am angry.

Calderdale's taxis are striking (25 out of 48 firms was the last figure i heard) tonight. However is seems very few are running at all. I have had a night out and left the night club, Maine Street at 2:10am. I finally got home to Brighouse at 4:10am. It appears no major taxi firms in Halifax are running causing a huge queue in St George's Square. This was policed well by the Street Angels and Police although they did nothing to solve the situation.

The strike is because taxi firms feel they are being unfairly treated. It costs £80 to renew a licence (annually) in Calderdale compared with £35 in Leeds and Bradford. Fuel prices have gone through the roof. Taxi drivers are banned from taxiing once they have accumulated 6 points on their licence (might be 7 or 9 depending on different sources). To become a taxi driver, knowledge tests must be taken of the area in addition to the normal taxi test. All registered taxis must have a sticker on both sides of the car causing extra cost totaxi firms.

My driver last week said "It's more like being a doctor than a taxi driver. 6 points is nothing. Taxis make no money by keeping to speed limits and there is very little danger on the roads in the middle of the night anyway." I see his point. How many kids are running out of the playground by Park Wood at 3am justifying the recently reduced 30mph limit?

Tonight, after queueing for 90 minutes I finally got a hackney carriage (more expensive than from one of the regular firms) from St George's Square with a guy called Neville and a lady called Suzanne as they were heading in the same direction. Everything in the queue was reasonably civilised but if it has been a cold, wet winter evening, this strike would've been detrimental to many people's health. It is just lucky the strike came on the warmest and dry night of the year.

However, a lot of people left thequeue to walk home or get in unlicensed cabs just so they could get home. Should any of these people get beaten, raped or even killed on their way home then Calderdale's Councillors should hold themselves personally responsible as this strike should NEVER have been allowed to take place. With a bit of negotiation and fairness, I feel certain things could have been worked out without putting hundreds of people's lives at risk after a night out.

Hopefully things will be resolved soon before more lives are put at risk.