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.


At Sun Jul 27, 07:51:00 pm 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that it was rubbish that you had to wait for 2 hours to get home. A poor end to a night. But I would argue it was the taxi drivers that were in the wrong.

A Taxi driver is meant to be paid for driving. Surely they should be ok to good at driving? 6 points on your licence isn't that good. The taxi drivers should be keeping to the speed limits. They are not just for fun. And certainly not to make money at that time of night. As for children running into the road, they have more sense in my experience than the drunken people we have to avoid in the road on a Saturday night. If the council is upholding safety in Hx good for them. The taxi drivers should have local knowledge or they may not know the best routes to taxi their paying customers about - thus costing the customer more. I wager the taxi firms will have lost more than the £45 difference in licence fees by striking for one night.

At Sun Jul 27, 09:10:00 pm 2008, Blogger Toph said...

I can't disagree with anything you've said Sarah. The moral being I really don't think the strike will have done anything to make the council change their mind. So will they keep striking until they get their way or just make out that their point has been made and let it die quietly? Hopefully the latter but somehow I doubt it.

I was quite drunk when I posted that too!

At Mon Jul 28, 12:34:00 pm 2008, Blogger Ed said...

It seems quite stupid for them to strike - but that's taxi drivers for you, the brains of Britain. As I'm sure the council don't really give a damn.

Did you know about the strike in advance? Maybe it was a little silly to go out if you couldn't be guaranteed to get back at a reasonable hour? :-) Of course if nobody went out I'm sure, once again, the council wouldn't complain.

As for the speed limit thing. I'm kinda with Sarah, they are not there to be broken... however they might be a set a little low in places (50 mph down Calderdale Way, seriously?). How many drunk people do you have to avoid on Park Road at 3am?

I'd have to work out if it's better for them to break the speed limit or not (in monetary terms)... they get paid for time as well as distance - as you'll have noticed as the numbers keep going up when you're stuck in traffic/red light. Of course they'll want to get back as quickly as possible for their next fare though. Time for a spreadsheet...

Clearly, a campaign for Bradford and Leeds to increase their licensing fees is required.

At Mon Jul 28, 10:11:00 pm 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed said...
It seems quite stupid for them to strike - but that's taxi drivers for you, the brains of Britain. As I'm sure the council don't really give a damn.


(I'd also point out that bank robbers have severe difficulties in operating within the law, but they don't seem to complain about it)

At Tue Jul 29, 06:27:00 am 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might want to add some comments to this forum discussion.

At Tue Jul 29, 10:28:00 pm 2008, Blogger Toph said...

To answer Ed, I was not aware that a strike was taking place as I didn't get Saturday's paper. It does however look like there will be a strike this Saturday too and maybe also on Bank Holiday weekend.

I'm the first to obey speed limits. If they drive less fast they'll use less fuel...although end up taking less fares too I guess.

With future strikes planned it should be interesting to see who comes out on top.


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