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Go-slow protest over black cab plan

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Taxi drivers are planning a go-slow protest through Wolverhampton to oppose council proposals to bring more black cabs into the city.

Taxi drivers are planning a go-slow protest through Wolverhampton to oppose council proposals to bring more black cabs into the city.

Council bosses say they have received complaints that there are not enough taxis available, particularly at weekends and in the evenings.

But drivers are disputing this, saying that taxi numbers have shot up in recent years while trade has fallen dramatically.

A consultation has been launched by the council with the aim of increasing the number of Hackney Carriages available to boost night time trade. But Parminder Sekhon, chairman of the Wolverhampton Taxi Owners' Association, said any move to increase black cabs could in no way be justified. "This would kill us," Mr Sekhon said. "Trade is already down 50 per cent compared to five or six years ago and fuel prices are at an all-time high.

"There used to be 65 black cabs in Wolverhampton and now there are 170 – and that's just black cabs, not private hire.

"The council just want to flood the streets with cabs.

"It's in their interests to do so because they receive more licensing money, for which we already pay the highest rates in the West Midlands.

"We have got a protest being planned to show just how many taxis we have got. We plan to block the streets and do a go-slow through the city."

Views are also being sought on proposals that prospective Hackney Carriage drivers would be allowed to buy taxis up to eight years of age. Currently drivers must buy brand new Hackney Carriages. Nick Edwards, Wolverhampton council's assistant director for regeneration, said: "These proposals form one element of a major piece of work that has been commissioned to explore options for how we can enhance the city centre offer.

"We have been told that people feel there are not enough taxis available, particularly at weekends and of the evenings." He added: "I must stress that these are only proposals at this stage and we want to hear the views of all interested parties." The consultation runs until September 14.

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