Black Taxi drivers in Birmingham are set to stage a series of go-slow protests against the council's proposals to make them comply with the new clean air zone. The Rail and Maritime and Transport Union, which represents Hackney drivers, is claiming the council is ignoring concerns abouts cost implications for drivers.
75 percent of the city's taxi fleet would be taken out of service under the new clean air regulations they claim. The Birmingham Live reported figures from the city council that show only 72 of the 1,265 Hackney Carriages licensed to operate in the city will be compliant with the new emission standards being imposed by the pollution charge from January 2020.
One of the biggest concerns is that if the majority of black cabs are taken off the roads due to the new regulations, it would have a major impact on disabled people who rely on taxis to get around. A multi-million pound bid to the Government’s Clean Air Fund is also being made by the authority to buy 50 ultra low emission vehicles - 10 of which would be offered on short leases as a try-before-you-buy scheme. The rest would be available for short-term rent on hourly rates.
In addition, the bid will include a request for £5,000 individual support packages for up to 1,000 drivers to help them convert to LPG or run a low emission vehicle.
Raja Amin, from the RMT, said: “BCC want drivers to convert to LPG or electric but have authorised one company to carry out this work (35 miles away) but haven’t got the infrastructure in place to allow vehicles to charge or convert within the time frame being imposed by them. “Drivers agreeing to convert to LPG are still being told to pay the £8 CAZ charge on a daily basis."
According to Mr Amin, a report on updated proposals is due to be considered by the council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee on 13 March.
The new proposals include replacing the emission standard due to take effect from 1 January 2020 with a vehicle age policy, as well as changes to the conditions under which a Hackney carriage could have an LPG conversion.
DATES FOR GO-SLOW ACROSS CITY Mon Feb 25 : 7.30am to 10am and 4pm to 6.30pm Tues Feb 26 : 7.30am to 10am and 4pm to 6.30pm Wed Feb 27 : 7.30am to 10am and 4pm to 6.30pm Thurs Feb 28 : 7.30am to 10am and 4pm to 6.30pm Fri March 1 : 7.30am to 10am and 4pm to 6.30pm Mon March 4 : 7.30am to 10am and 4pm to 6.30pm Tues March 5: 7.30am to 10am and 4pm to 6.30pm Wed March 6 : 7.30am to 10am and 4pm to 6.30pm Thurs March 7 : 7.30am to 10am and 4pm to 6.30pm Fri March 8 : 7.30am to 10am and 4pm to 6.30pm