National cross-border taxi campaign comes to St Albans

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 April 2017

Taxis at St Albans Train station. Credit: Krishan Bhungar

Taxis at St Albans Train station. Credit: Krishan Bhungar

Archant

A campaign against taxis picking up fares from outside their licensed area has reached St Albans.

Unite, which is spearheading the campaign, has described the situation as “anarchical”.

Senior cab section representative, and editor of Cab Trade News, Peter Rose, said: “We have been running a campaign for the past seven years against the deregulation of taxis.

“What we are trying to do is support the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, who said that every private hire vehicle should either start or finish in the area they are licensed in.”

A particular target of the campaign is the international firm Uber, which Mr Rose says is using a national license.

Although legal, this license means Uber drivers can cross over into different authorities.

To drum up support, Unite visited cab ranks in Harpenden and at St Albans city station last week.

Zeshan Asgar, who has driven a cab in St Albans for a year, said about Uber: “They come here and take our fares, and we are struggling at the minute.

“Why are they here? We are the St Albans taxis.

“I got this car and I pay insurance, but it’s not worth doing a taxi here at the moment.”

Mr Asgar, who also lives in St Albans, added: “It’s hard to get a decent life here now.”

Mohammad Shazad, who has driven a cab in the district for 20 years, said: “They are taking all the trade from us, so it’s really hard for us to make our living.

“We are talking to the council at the moment. They should stop them, but they are not.”

St Albans council’s head of legal, Mike Lovelady, said: “During enforcement checks any vehicles that are found in the district without pre-booked jobs are advised to go back to the area where they are licensed.

“These enforcement checks by the council and the police have led to a noticeable decline in the number of vehicles operating in St Albans district that are licensed by other licensing authorities.”

Uber was asked for a comment, but did not reply.

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