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Taxi row could end up in High Court

Worcester Editorial 1st Apr, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

TAXI drivers in Worcester are planning to take the city council to the High Court in a row over a new policy to reduce the age of black cabs on the road.

Members of Worcester Hackney Carriage Association have come together to raise about £35,000 to start High Court proceedings.

It comes after Worcester City Council introduced a new rule in November, which means vehicles cannot be licensed as a taxi unless it is brand new.

Lesley Borthwick, who is a member of the association, said the changes were “cruel” as a three-year-old vehicle was previously allowed and she believed the move could force more drivers like herself off the rank.

“You talking about buying a brand new vehicle which will cost around £35,000, and in this day and age how many people can afford that?” she said.

“We are self employed and it feels like they are forcing us off the ranks and into the dole queue. It is our livelihoods as some of us have been working for 30-odd years.

“There are 265 drivers out there who are quite unhappy about this and this is the first time I have seen them all stick together like this and raise the cash to take action.”

Patrick Nolan, head consultant at Nolan Licensing Consultants & Advocates, added: “There is simply no way a taxi driver can afford these sums as the drivers are not able to secure credit for payment plans and others simply cannot make such an investment.

“It means the trade will be crippled and ultimately higher fares for the general public and in some case by 200 per cent.”

A spokesman from Worcester City Council said they had received ‘no formal notification’ of the action.

But he said he expected the dispute to be brought up at a taxi forum today (Wednesday) where regulatory services officers and members of the city council’s licensing committee would be meeting with drivers.

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