Drivers fear losing jobs over new licensing rules

Taxi Driver Group pic. Left to Right are Geoff Green, Peter Rayner, Zbyszeek Niewiadomski, Norman George, Kevin Mowat, Keith Hayward. 184C
Taxi Driver Group pic. Left to Right are Geoff Green, Peter Rayner, Zbyszeek Niewiadomski, Norman George, Kevin Mowat, Keith Hayward. 184C

TAXI drivers in Grantham claim they are missing out on trade by following new rules enforced by the local authority.

A new points system was put into place by South Kesteven District Council in January - once a taxi driver reaches 12 points they face losing their licence.

A key issue the cabbies say are causing them to lose out on trade is pulling right to the front of the rank outside the Guildhall. They claim passengers follow the pathways and to the nearest car, leaving the driver at the front with a lot less trade.

Geoff Green said he has waited for over an hour before a passenger hopped in. He said: “I’ve been complaining about having to go to the front of the rank where we rarely get fares from. Joe Public comes down the path and walks straight to the first taxi he sees.

“We’re here to make a living and they’re stopping us.”

Geoff has submitted a petition with 48 signatures from fellow drivers to both SKDC and Lincolnshire County Council after what his colleagues call “pointless” talks with SKDC to resolve their issues.

Kevin Mowat said: “We’ve tried telling them but no-one listens. We want them to come and listen to us.”

Norman George added: “Drivers will start hiding on back street corners because they’re afraid of losing their jobs on this rank.”

Councillor Paul Carpenter, portfolio holder for engagement and corporate services, said the rules are in use only in Grantham following complaints.

He added: “We have had a number of complaints about taxis double parking in the area and have asked taxi drivers to use the full extent of the taxi rank. This would alleviate problems with parking further down near the doctors’ surgery.”

A SKDC spokesman said the new rules will improve the safety of both local people and drivers, and that during a 12-week public consultation last year, taxi drivers gave positive feedback as well as members of the public.