Angry Dudley taxi drivers plan for a go-slow protest
Dudley town centre could be brought to a standstill when taxi drivers stage a go-slow protest to show their anger after proposals to abolish a single car colour scheme were thrown out by councillors.
Dozens of vehicles are expected to take part in the protest before the authority's taxi committee meeting at 5.30pm on April 24 in a bid to highlight their concerns.
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition, including drivers and their customers, asking the council to reverse its rules stating only white coloured private hire cars can be used around the borough.
Taxi drivers claim it can cost up to £2,000 extra for white models due to recent popularity by celebrities pushing up prices.
Drivers will make two laps of the town going directly past Dudley Council House, in Priory Road, on the evening of the meeting.
Around 600 members of Dudley Private Hire and Taxi Association are backing the action saying they have been left feeling "robbed" by the decision.
But Dudley Council's legal boss Councillor Gaye Partridge today refused to back down saying the decision had been taken "as part of the fair and democratic process" by committee members.
The council says having a single colour scheme allows customers to safely identify fully licensed private taxis.
Taxi association chairman Shaz Saleem says the group intends to meet again next week to thrash out further details of the protest.
But Mr Saleem, who is managing director at Sedgley-based Beacon Taxis and Express Taxis, in Halesowen, says his drivers feel this is the only way to send a message to the council without holding a strike which could hurt customers.
"We want them to make a U-turn on this policy," he said. "We want to show how strong we feel about this and how angry we are because quite frankly we feel robbed."
Today, Councillor Partridge, said: "We recently reviewed this policy to ensure it continues to safeguard the public and considered views from councillors, police and the taxi drivers.
"The committee voted in favour of keeping the policy as part of the fair and democratic process we have in place, and we will continue to work closely with all licensed taxi drivers across the borough to ensure the service remains safe and fair."
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