Worcester taxi drivers' High Court legal battle expected to be scrapped

Worcester News: Taxi drivers at Foregate Street, in Worcester Taxi drivers at Foregate Street, in Worcester

A BITTER High Court legal battle between taxi drivers in Worcester and the city council is set to be scrapped - after a major u-turn.

Your Worcester News can reveal how the council is looking to water down a new hard-hitting policy on taxi vehicles after it enraged cabbies.

Last November, in a bid to help reduce spiralling taxi numbers licensing chiefs agreed that drivers must buy brand new cabs once their vehicles are deemed too old.

Prior to that point, under old rules once the car reaches around 12, taxi owners were allowed to replace them with vehicles aged up to three.

Worcester Taxi Drivers Association has launched court action over the change but the city council held a private meeting with the trade on Thursday for fresh talks over it.

Councillor Paul Denham, chairman of the city's licensing committee, now says the policy will be changed.

"A number of people came along and convinced us it would be unreasonable to have to find so much extra money to buy a brand new taxi," he said.

"Our feeling is that we now ought to change the policy so it's one the drivers can live with.

"I think we can still look at ways of gradually improving the quality of the fleet without doing it in this way.

"We've listened, it's not our intention to put people out of business - in some ways the policy was like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut."

Only last week drivers said they faced "ruins", revealing new cabbies straight off the production line can cost nearly £40,000.

Older taxis can typically be £10,000 cheaper, or even lower if they shop around.

A new report will now go to the next licensing committee meeting in June for a vote on a relaxed policy.

Lesley Borthwick, from Worcester Taxi Drivers Association, said: "It's a lot more than we had this time last week.

"We've said all along the policy isn't right - it's good to hear they agree with us on that.

"But we need to see what they come up with. I'd be happier if they'd drop it now."

She said the trade would not halt its legal action until the new policy is voted through.

In February the committee passed a new rule which means no more cabbies will be allowed a licence until numbers fall sharply.

Worcester currently has 263 hackney carriages, and the cap is set at 230, which means at least 34 must quit before any more are dished out.

Comments (7)

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1:31pm Sat 5 Apr 14

Wh1t3Kn1ght says...

Instead of forcing them to buy new cabs why not change the rule on maximum age of vehicles - 12 years old does seem a bit much. Majority of CABs I've been in in Worcester are far too old and shabby and makes you think twice about using one again in the future.

This could even be an opportunity to "cull" the current high number of taxi CABs in Worcester!

How bout maximum of 8 year old vehicles?
Instead of forcing them to buy new cabs why not change the rule on maximum age of vehicles - 12 years old does seem a bit much. Majority of CABs I've been in in Worcester are far too old and shabby and makes you think twice about using one again in the future. This could even be an opportunity to "cull" the current high number of taxi CABs in Worcester! How bout maximum of 8 year old vehicles? Wh1t3Kn1ght
  • Score: 15

2:32pm Sat 5 Apr 14

Jabbadad says...

Most of the Wear and Tear on motor vehicles comes from the miles travelled. And continuous stop and start short Journies are by far the worse.
To buy a second hand car that has done mainly motorway miles would normally be far better than an ex-taxi of similar miles even with similar maintenance.
So as these Taxis are used for public service, they need to be in excellent condition, also they need under the Disability Equality Act of October 2010, disabled access, side or rear. So these drivers need to comply or move into an occupation which is less demanding.
Most of the Wear and Tear on motor vehicles comes from the miles travelled. And continuous stop and start short Journies are by far the worse. To buy a second hand car that has done mainly motorway miles would normally be far better than an ex-taxi of similar miles even with similar maintenance. So as these Taxis are used for public service, they need to be in excellent condition, also they need under the Disability Equality Act of October 2010, disabled access, side or rear. So these drivers need to comply or move into an occupation which is less demanding. Jabbadad
  • Score: 10

2:33pm Sat 5 Apr 14

Samboy says...

If there were less of them they might be able to afford to maintain and replace their vehicles but while they are all 'picking up crumbs' their poverty pleas will continue unabated.
If there were less of them they might be able to afford to maintain and replace their vehicles but while they are all 'picking up crumbs' their poverty pleas will continue unabated. Samboy
  • Score: 9

6:51pm Sat 5 Apr 14

The Villan says...

A compromise is a sensible move. However, I hope this doesn't compromise the safety of passengers and that certain standards are enforced, after all there are some shabby taxis out there.
A compromise is a sensible move. However, I hope this doesn't compromise the safety of passengers and that certain standards are enforced, after all there are some shabby taxis out there. The Villan
  • Score: 12

11:07pm Sat 5 Apr 14

billy@64 says...

What a web of deceipt the taxi owners association is weaving. For the record I am a city taxi driver so have some knowledge of these matters. Both parties here are at fault the lesser blame lies with the council for caving in to the bully boy tactics of thr T O A and its ever present self appointed mouthpiece Ms Borthwick. The council are a toothless tiger and the drivers know it they NEVER prosecute drivers for offences such as persistant over ranking , smoking in cabs etc and seem and taking what the TO A says as gospel. This evening I looked in the national taxi trade mag and found 2 types of brand new hackney carriage on the road for £21995 and £25995, both nowhere near the fictional £40,000 banded around by Ms Borthwick. What isnt stated by the TOA is that although the prescribed age limit for hackneys is 12 years there are SEVERAL cabs older still running round the city some over 14 years old , surely far too old to be clean and comfortable for paying passengers. These have been allowed to continue due to constant sob stories from the same old spokespeople that they can not afford to replace a 14 year old car and can I possibly run it for another year Mr Councillor ! There are a few (very few) taxi operators in the city who take a pride in providing top quality vehicles and replacing them when they BEGIN to look tired not when they start to fall apart and who put passenger comfort before profit. I am sure we will all see several similar disputes on the pages of the WN in the future lets just hope in the meantime someone points the licencing committee in the direction of southbank hospital where they can enquire how they go about aquiring a solid backbone and a pair of b@##s.
What a web of deceipt the taxi owners association is weaving. For the record I am a city taxi driver so have some knowledge of these matters. Both parties here are at fault the lesser blame lies with the council for caving in to the bully boy tactics of thr T O A and its ever present self appointed mouthpiece Ms Borthwick. The council are a toothless tiger and the drivers know it they NEVER prosecute drivers for offences such as persistant over ranking , smoking in cabs etc and seem and taking what the TO A says as gospel. This evening I looked in the national taxi trade mag and found 2 types of brand new hackney carriage on the road for £21995 and £25995, both nowhere near the fictional £40,000 banded around by Ms Borthwick. What isnt stated by the TOA is that although the prescribed age limit for hackneys is 12 years there are SEVERAL cabs older still running round the city some over 14 years old , surely far too old to be clean and comfortable for paying passengers. These have been allowed to continue due to constant sob stories from the same old spokespeople that they can not afford to replace a 14 year old car and can I possibly run it for another year Mr Councillor ! There are a few (very few) taxi operators in the city who take a pride in providing top quality vehicles and replacing them when they BEGIN to look tired not when they start to fall apart and who put passenger comfort before profit. I am sure we will all see several similar disputes on the pages of the WN in the future lets just hope in the meantime someone points the licencing committee in the direction of southbank hospital where they can enquire how they go about aquiring a solid backbone and a pair of b@##s. billy@64
  • Score: 16

11:40pm Sat 5 Apr 14

Jabbadad says...

Well said and straight from the Horses mouth as we say.
Well said and straight from the Horses mouth as we say. Jabbadad
  • Score: 6

2:58pm Mon 7 Apr 14

CHANDBRUSH says...

Just another example of an amateur council acting before thinking and then backing down in Worcestershire we must have the worst councils in England, still we voted for these idiots so I suppose its our fault .
Just another example of an amateur council acting before thinking and then backing down in Worcestershire we must have the worst councils in England, still we voted for these idiots so I suppose its our fault . CHANDBRUSH
  • Score: 0

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