Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds taxi drivers protest against new license revoke policy

Taxi drivers
Image caption Drivers say policymakers do not understand the pressures they face while at work

Hundreds of taxi and minicab drivers have protested over plans to revoke their licences if they get six penalty points in a year.

Drivers demonstrated outside Leeds Civic Hall earlier against Leeds City Council's new "six point policy".

The policy comes into force on 2 February and will result in a three-year suspension of offending drivers' taxi and private hire licences.

The council said the move would "improve passenger safety".

But drivers say the policy is "too draconian" and "disproportionate".

They said under the new rules, two motoring convictions would result in immediate suspension, meaning drivers would lose their livelihood.

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Leeds Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers said they were under "severe pressure" to concentrate on roads and policymakers "do not understand".

"Can you imagine trying to control your speed or trying to behave in a professional manner with passengers being threatening, abusive, or with the fear that your passenger may stab you?" a statement read out at the protest said.

It follows the stabbing of a Leeds minicab driver over a £3 fare on Friday. A 17-year-old has been charged with assault, attempted robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.

Image caption The protestors said council policy "overrules" the UK Road Traffic Act

Under the new rules, licence holders with over six points but no new cautions, convictions or points may continue to hold a taxi licence but failing to disclose new offences could mean it is suspended or revoked.

Taxi licences are suspended or revoked if drivers exceed 12 penalty points under current council policy.

The drivers demanded a "proper working party" with the council, including private hire and hackney cab representatives.

The council will meet drivers, and address the issues at a licensing committee meeting this month.

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