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Leeds cabbies protest at plans which could mean losing their jobs with NINE driving penalty points

Image credit: Ross Campbell

Hundreds of Leeds taxi drivers gathered in the city centre to protest against council plans to introduce extra training should a cabbie get seven points on their licence.

Under the new proposals drivers would also lose their taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) licences for at least FIVE YEARS if they accrued nine penalty points.

As it stands, taxi drivers are treated like all other motorists where action would only be taken if the driver had totted up twelve points.

Leeds City Council says work has been progressed to consider changes considering the national Institute of Licensing framework which was introduced in 2018 and includes a lower threshold of seven points as the recommended standard where formal action should be considered.

In the latest consultation, more than 2,200 responses were received, with a clear split in the views expressed with those from the trade being opposed to the changes and the general public being supportive, with some calling for stricter restrictions to be introduced than those proposed.

Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for resources and Safer Leeds Councillor, Debra Coupar, said: “In considering our next steps it will be important to achieve the right balance between ensuring public safety in line with the Institute of Licensing framework whilst proactively supporting the taxi and private hire trade in Leeds.”

There was however strong opposition from driver representatives who believe the proposals are unfair on the industry. Similar rules are not present in other professional driving positions.

Ahmad Hussain, from Leeds Private Hire Drivers Organisation (LPHDO), said: "Why change a policy where 98.5% of the system is working and people are complying.

"This will affect drivers mentally, financially and in other ways and it's wrong."

Taxi drivers in London were furious with a similar policy brought in that could see their licences SUSPENDED or REVOKED for toting up just six driver’s licence penalty points.

Steve McNamara, LTDA General Secretary, told members: “TfL argue that the changes are all about holding professional taxi drivers to "a higher standard", but we believe that if a skilled, experienced magistrate feels that a driver is safe to be on the road, then TfL has no business saying otherwise.”

Another taxi driver representative publicly queried why taxi drivers risk having their taxi licence revoked with just six penalty points to their name, yet a new applicant for a London bus driver can APPLY for a job with the same number of points.

Trevor Merralls, UCG General Secretary, said: “So you can drive a publicly hired bus with 6 points, but you can’t drive a publicly hired taxi with 6 points. And it gets better they’re going to ban you for 7 years.”


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