St Albans taxi strike result of “misunderstanding” with council

A “MISUNDERSTANDING” over parking tickets has led to a widespread taxi strike in St Albans city centre, the council admitted.

The strike, which started just after 3pm yesterday and is set to continue over the weekend, is a result of St Albans district council civil enforcement officers issuing parking fines to taxis parked in St Peter’s Street and city station taxi ranks.

St Albans taxi driver Amjad Khan, who insisted yesterday that there will be no St Albans taxis running until at least Monday, said: “We’ve come to blows with the council over this so many times. Licensed cabs are being ticketed for parking in legitimate taxi ranks for no apparent reason, and they need to stop discriminating against us.”

Amjad, who also claims that the St Albans taxi ranks are not big enough to accommodate the number of carriages in the city, added: “We’re all mucking in and will continue to stand up together in an effort to make the council understand.”

A local resident who does not wish to be named told the Herts Advertiser that it was “chaos” at the station yesterday evening: “There must have been at least 40 taxis parked at the station, and all of them were refusing to take passengers. I saw a couple of people trying to get into taxis and fail - there was a lot of anger at the station yesterday!”

Parking contract manager at the council Steve Deakin admitted that the parking tickets in question were not legitimate: “It is difficult to manage the taxi rank in St Peter’s Street safely with the number of taxis that need to use it. Owing to a misunderstanding, the civil enforcement officers have issued tickets to taxis using the rank. We have agreed to work with the taxi drivers on how to make the taxi rank work better and to agree alternative places for them to wait within the city centre area.”

He added: “We have also agreed not to enforce the tickets that were issued yesterday and the taxi drivers have agreed to help the civil enforcement officers ensure that the taxi rank operates safely. We are very pleased that the taxi drivers are working as usual and look forward to our discussions in the future.”