Taxi drivers strike over loss of rank
PUBLISHED: 12:30 17 August 2012
WESTON cabbies will strike this weekend over ‘diabolical’ changes to taxi ranks which they say are eroding their livelihoods.
They say the abolition of a rank in one of the town’s busiest night-time streets, and its replacement with one further from the resort’s clubs and bars, is making life difficult for independent taxi drivers.
They say there was already a shortage of taxi ranks in the town and those currently in place are not properly signposted.
On August 8, North Somerset Council sent a letter to drivers informing them the rank in Regent Street will be removed and replaced with one outside the former TJ Hughes store, and a night-time only rank in Beach Road.
There will be no access to the Beach Road rank from the seafront, forcing taxis to take a longer route through Regent Street.
Now, a group of about 15 furious drivers is planning to strike between midnight and 3am on Saturday.
Taxi driver Gary Goodwin said: “This is not about bashing the council, it is about protecting our livelihoods.
“There is not one taxi rank on the seafront. Name one other seaside town without a rank on the seafront. It’s diabolical.
“Our livelihoods are just being eroded. It is ridiculous and something needs to be done.
“Last Friday police started coming up to us and moving us on in Regent Street.”
He added the move could put town centre revellers at risk.
He said: “It’s also a matter of public safety. We are getting lone females walking around, looking for cabs, and we take them home safely.”
Driver Rob Ubank agreed, adding: “Our job is get people home safely. After dropping a woman home I always wait for her to get inside before I leave, just to make sure they’re safe.”
Driver Tyrone Bennetts said: “We don’t want confrontation, we just want communication. It is a wall of red tape right now.”
Another driver, Dave Bruerton, complained about the lack of consultation over the decision.
He said: “The council is informing us when it has already happened. There is no discussion at all.”
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