Taxi drivers protest at new ‘cab’ signs

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Over 80 drivers have signed a letter objecting to the change because they do not want to be associated with cab companies.Driver John Connelly , who is acting as spokesman for the group, says the president and secretary of their association had agreed the change with the authorities, but without the approval of the drivers.He said the drivers were now seeking an emergency general meeting because they have lost faith in their representatives.

By the end of last week, 85 drivers had signed a letter protesting about the change.

There are nearly 150 rank taxi drivers in the Island.However, Jersey Taxi Drivers Association president Robbie Lander said that he did not know what the fuss was about.

‘I spoke to John on Monday and told him that if he wanted an emergency general meeting to get the necessary 20 signatures and one will be organised.

We are licensed as a “”restricted taxi cab”” in accordance with the law,’ he said.Mr Connelly said that rank taxis have always operated separately and differently from the cab companies.

‘We don’t want to be associated with them and we don’t want the public to be confused,’ he said.He said that all of the drivers on the ranks own their vehicles and are self-employed.

He also pointed out that they have their fares controlled by Driver and Vehicle Standards whereas cab company vehicles do not.He said the drivers were already unhappy that the term ‘taxi cab’ has been included on their licence plates this year.

‘When I went to get my plate renewed this year, I found that they had changed the terminology from “”rank taxi”” to “”restricted taxi cab””.

We didn’t know anything about that change until it happened.

We now do not want have to display the “”restricted taxi cab”” sign on the roofs of our vehicles,’ he said.However, Driver and Vehicle Standards chief officer Rohan Minkley said that the change was among many that had been agreed through a consultative forum.

‘They are licensed as a “”restricted taxi cab”” and that is the sign they will have to display.

The decision was taken with the agreement of the representatives of the association in the forum,’ he said.He declined to comment on what would happen if drivers refused to display the appropriate words.Deputy Collin Egré has been given political responsibility by the Home Affairs Committee to come up with proposals to modernise the current system under which taxis and cabs operate.

He said that the progress achieved so far through the consultative forum had been encouraging.’I think there is an acceptance that the current system can be changed to improve the service available to those who use taxis and cabs and we are working alongside the drivers and firms to come up with proposals,’ he said.

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