No black cabs for Walsall revellers

Black cabs will stop running in Walsall town centre for 24 hours amid safety fears over two rival protests, leading to fears revellers could be left stranded following nights out.

black-cab

Around 100 taxis will be off the road between 8am tomorrow and 8am on Sunday.

It means people on a night out in Walsall on Saturday will not be able to hail a cab to get home.

Walsall Hackney Carriage Association said it is suspending services after some drivers raised concerns over safety and disruption in the town because of the protests.

The English Defence League will hold a static protest in Leicester Street tomorrow while opposition groups, including faith groups, will hold a simultaneous static protest in Gallery Square.

Mirza Khalid, chairman of the Hackney Carriage Association, said: “There is going to be no black cabs on Saturday.

“The main reason is safety. We apologise to the travelling public.”

But private hire drivers said it would be business as usual and that services would continue to run.

More than 800 police officers will be on patrol for the protests tomorrow.

Mike Bird, leader of Walsall Council, said he was “extremely disappointed” that black cabs would not be running because council bosses had been trying to promote the message of business as usual in the town.

He said: “Private hire drivers will still be working and it could be a busy night so we would encourage people to book them.”

Councillor Mohammed Arif, representative for the St Matthew’s ward, said: “I understand the difficulties this is going to put the public in.

“It does make sense for people to think in advance and look to book a private hire taxi in advance.”