Cardiff taxi drivers protest outside City Hall

28 February 2017

Around thirty taxi drivers have taken part in a protest about licensing outside City Hall in Cardiff.

The taxi drivers say licenses are being issued by Transport for London to drivers who then use them to drive anywhere in the UK.

They say the supply of drivers in Cardiff is outstripping demand.

Ruhail Shahzad, a private hire taxi driver who’s been working in Cardiff for ten years, says the problem is getting worse, with drivers from as far away as Gloucestershire working in the city.

“I would say our earnings are down by 60%. If they were to put a cap on licensing that would actually help us earn a decent living and stop cars coming from out of town and stealing fares”.

The 2015 Deregulation Act enables private cars to work anywhere in the UK as-long as bookings are taken in the area they are licensed.

Lorraine Gaskell, a regional organiser from the GMB Union says some drivers are earning less than the National Living Wage.

“The deregulation of licensing means anyone can go out and get a license. Anyone can get a car on the road.”

“Uber is now coming in which again brings down the market share, now local drivers have got less work to go after.

Uber say all their drivers  are licensed and insured for private hire and have gone through the same enhanced DBS background checks as teachers.

A spokesperson for Uber says, “Private hire drivers are not restricted to driving only in one jurisdiction. It’s perfectly legal and common practice for drivers licensed in one area to carry out trips in another. Competition in the industry is a good thing as it not only gives drivers more options, it also forces companies to innovate and offer a better service to passengers.”

Cardiff Council cannot currently put a cap on the number of private hire licenses, all they can do is make sure drivers applying meet the criteria.

Transport for London say it is a matter for the Department for Transport who have been contacted for comment.

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