Hundreds of Greater Manchester taxi drivers protest as concerns over future surface

Image credit: Sean Kenny (Twitter)

Hundreds of Manchester taxi drivers took to the streets to protest against imminent licensing changes forcing cabbies into zero-emission capable vehicles.

Cabbies in Greater Manchester are concerned that the costs involved to change their cabs to ‘greener’ vehicles will push some drivers out of the industry.

Taxi drivers are currently facing unsustainable low levels of work caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Many drivers, not just in Manchester, are urging local authorities to consider pushing back air quality related deadlines, to allow cab drivers the opportunity to financially recover before investing in newer vehicles.

Starting yesterday at 1pm, taxi drivers across Greater Manchester converged on the city centre to protest outside the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) offices.

Cab drivers sounded their horns in a peaceful protest before being moved on by police officers.

Alongside the Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Plan, the city-region’s ten local authorities also agreed last month to collectively develop a common set of minimum standards for taxi and private hire services covering the whole of the area.

Standards would cover drivers, operators and vehicles, and plan to go further and greener than the Government’s new standards for the sector by including a step-by-step pathway to reducing emissions from taxis and private hire vehicles.

The ambitious aim is to have an entirely zero emission taxi and private hire fleet across Greater Manchester by the end of the decade.

To help achieve that aim Greater Manchester have stated they will look to minimise the impact on the trade and incentivise the switch to electric or low carbon vehicles while meeting Clean Air Plan targets.

As well as funding support to move to greener vehicles, Greater Manchester is proposing a ‘Try Before You Buy’ scheme for Hackney carriage drivers to test-drive electric taxis, and a network of taxi-only rapid electric vehicle charging points.

For many taxi drivers attending today‘s protests the support proposed to make the change does not go far enough.

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