Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Angry Bristol cabbies are threatening to bring streets to halt in Uber protest.

TAXI drivers who claim that the rise of online firm Uber is putting the trade at risk are now threatening to bring the streets of Bristol to a standstill with a massive demonstration.

A delegation of London cabbies came to Bristol last week to talk to the city's drivers about the rising influence of the internet firm on the trade.

The United Cabbies Group as thousands of members across the country and recently organised a demonstration which saw the streets of the capital bought to a complete standstill.

Around 8,000 cab drivers caused traffic chaos when they blockaded the streets around Westminster and the West End lost month.

The group already has members in most other major cities including Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester and they are looking to recruit in Bristol.

And they have promised to stage a demonstration if their concerns about Uber are not addressed.

Spokesman and organiser Len Martin said: "We would be very keen to talk to the new mayor of Bristol about our concerns.

"If he or she is not willing to speak to us then we would be more than ready to organise the kind of demonstration that we held in London. "We had about 8,000 cab drivers turn out in central London and we are more than confident that we could get at least 1,000 drivers into Bristol.

"We are very serious about this because we believe that this company poses a real threat to the taxi trade."

The association claims that there are currently around 200 Uber drivers operating in Bristol and about 70 to 80 per cent of them come from outside the city.

Transport for London, which licenses taxis in the capital, said a 'grey area' could make it easier for cabbies based in the capital to take jobs in Bristol.

Under the current rules only Hackney Cabs can be hailed in the street while private hire cars have to be booked. The Uber app means that people can get a private hire car easier than ever before and know how much the journey will cost them.

Unite, the union that represents many black-cab drivers, is backing the campaign and claims the government is biased against their trade.

Tim Lloyd, a taxi driver based in Bristol, said: "It does feel that as a trade we are being short-changed by the government."But this is not just about the drivers it is also about customer safety.

"The drivers are coming to Bristol from all over the country and they are not subject to the same level of checks."The drivers can get a licence within a matter of weeks with a much lower level of background checks and they do not have to take the same level of tests."

Under the current regulations private hire drivers are able to start or end a trip anywhere in the UK as long as their private hire licence and vehicle licence match the licensed operator that processes their booking.

A spokesman for Uber said the firm did not want to comment on the criticisms and proposed demonstration.He added: "There is no difference between Uber and other drivers.

"All our drivers are checked and have to be licensed."We operate under the same conditions and the same rules as the rest of the industry."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

National strikes is the only way to go. Striking on the same day all over the UK !