Taxi drivers in Liverpool accuse council of bullying ahead of plans to make card payment machines ma

Black Taxi drivers in Liverpool claim they are being "bullied" into accepting card payments ahead of council plans to make it a mandatory requirement, following in the footsteps of London's iconic cab drivers. Despite warnings from taxi drivers, the council's licensing committee are set to approve a new law requiring ALL Hackney carriages to install a £280 card payment facility.

The city's black taxi drivers say that there is not enough of a demand for card payments to justify the costs that will be inflicted onto them, and stress as self-employed workers they should not have the requirements forced on them.

As reported by the Liverpool Echo, more than half (58%) who responded to a consultation on the proposals said they didn't think it would be a good idea, while 62% said it would not encourage more people to use black cabs, and 79% said they didn't think it should be a mandatory requirement.

Drivers have said they should be able to decide for themselves if they wish to have card payment facilities, with one person even accusing the council of bullying self-employed workers into harmful decisions. One representation said: "I think the trade is being bullied into decisions which will have financial problems to owners/drivers. If it’s not broken don’t fix it."

Another driver said: "The council should not force taxi owners to pay for card readers. It should be encouraged but not enforced. No other business is forced to take card payments."

The "unfavourable" feedback from the consultation has forced the original proposals, which set a time frame of six months for all taxis to have machines fitted, to be extended.

Owners will be advised of the choices of devices available to use, which will have to meet required standards. Aziz Musa, licensing and regulatory officer, said it would improve standards of Hackney carriages in line with modern times.

In a letter to the city council, Mr Musa said card payments would be an easier and quicker method of payment for taxis and would improve public safety by removing the need to stop off and get cash late at night.

Some taxi drivers agreed with the licensing boss.

The proposed rules are specifically for Hackney carriage taxis. There has been no discussions to introduce the same regulations into private hire vehicles.
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