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SALFORD COUNCIL BLACK CAB NEGLECT
 

Star date: 15th December 2012

30% BLACK CAB INCREASE WITH NO NEW RANKS SAY DRIVERS

Since deregulation of Salford's hackney carriages three years ago, there's been a thirty per cent increase in cabs but no proper new ranks. Now, with the old Salford Precinct rank closed and an unsuitable replacement `horseshoe' rank in place, drivers are going public with their concerns…

Full story here…


Salford Black Cab Neglect Salford Black Cab Neglect Salford Black Cab Neglect
Salford Black Cab Neglect Salford Black Cab Neglect
click image to enlarge

It's a wet Monday morning and cabs are semi circling around a new, horseshoe shaped rank in no-man's land at the far end of what used to be Pendleton Way, between the huge new Tesco and Salford Precinct.

No-one's walking to the cabs, the rank being too far from Tesco to cart shopping, and almost out of sight of most shoppers on the Precinct. So the black cabs queue, waiting to get the word that one of the three cabs that are allowed to rank at Tesco's entrance has moved off and another can take its place.

The three cab rank came about only after disabled people complained at the original Council planning meeting for the Tesco store that they needed easy access to black cabs for wheelchairs and such. So now three cabs can wait at the entrance but those left at the horseshoe can't see when one is moving off. To say that the drivers are unimpressed with the new horseshoe rank would be an understatement…

"People can't get to it and can't see it" says driver Stuart Ryan "There's not one finger sign within this Precinct saying where the rank is. They just shut the old one at the old Tesco and gave us this, which isn't even big enough for the cabs that were there."

When the old rank shut in late November, the drivers had to make their own signs pointing to the new rank, although the Council has now put a knee high crumpled yellow sign in place. The drivers say that this is indicative of Salford Council's attitude.

"Three years ago there were 79 black cabs in Salford, and just enough work to go round" says one "Now they've deregulated us and there's 105 black cabs but only two working ranks – here and Eccles. What are they doing for us?"

He points out that to run a hackney carriage for a week costs a driver around £400 in rental, fuel, tax and insurance before he's even taken any fares… "In 17 years driving I've not seen any new taxi ranks, all I've seen is work being taken away from us but it's people's livelihoods. Salford Council has meetings but you can't go unless you're invited. We can't get in. I think they're frightened in case we speak up. But we do need to speak up…"

Council figures show that there's 178 drivers currently working on 105 black cabs, with a further 1330 private hire drivers working 924 vehicles. At virtually all of the new developments in Salford, the private hire firms have free phones within the buildings.

"We don't have a problem with the private hire vehicles and free phones but give the customer the choice" says Stuart Ryan "We did get a rank on Media City but the work comes mainly off our radios as there are not many walkers because it's in the wrong location, around the corner from the hotel. We're told to move on if we park near it because it's private land. On Media City there's not one sign pointing to the taxi ranks. How are people supposed to find them when there's no signs pointing to where they are?"

When Salford Council deregulated the taxis three years ago, there were two main reasons – that there would be more demand and more work, particularly at MediaCityUK, and that outlying areas of Salford would be better served…

"At Walkden, the biggest Tesco in Europe, there's no rank" Stuart explains "We had a two cab rank there before but they built right over it. The new ASDA at Swinton has no rank in the plans. We had a nine month fight to get a rank at the Salford City Stadium but it's still not painted or signed. Three years down the line, and Irlam still hasn't got a rank. What's the Council doing for us? Nothing

"I believe this Council told us before they de-regged us that they would put ranks into place for the cabs that were coming on" he adds "We've now got a 30% increase in cabs and, as far as I'm concerned, there's no ranks in place for these cabs to go and stand. There's only two working cab ranks in Salford, one at Eccles Cross and this one at the Precinct."

And, since the deregulation that was supposed to bring in new work, hackney carriage drivers say that takings are fifty per cent down. If Stuart had a Christmas message for Salford Council what would it be?

"You need to get off your behinds and come and enforce what you need to do in Salford, and give us Salford hackney carriage drivers what we need" he decides "We're public transport, let the public see us! And let the public use us!"

Almost a month ago the Salford Star asked Salford Council for a comment on the lack of ranks and the loss of income following deregulation. Salford Council has not responded.

* See previous Salford Star articles about the battles for ranks at Media City (click here) and at Tesco (click here)


 

Gareth Netherwood wrote
at 08:34:41 on 24 December 2012
Stuart Ryan, you should perhaps represent the hackney trade in Salford instead of who ever represents you now, good comments. Taxi bob, a lesson in fairness to us all, 10 out of 10 for that.
 
taxi bob wrote
at 18:42:51 on 19 December 2012
Firstly, Ged doesnt work for the Council. Secondly, after intensive investigations the 'bent bitch' has had the case against her dropped as the cps were unwilling to take the case to court. I sure after 2 years of investigation if there was anything then they would have found it. So OLLA, if your only going to write crap and put untrue facts then dont bother putting anything as your coming across as being a bit thick. That woman has probably been to hell and back since all this started. I always thought she was helpful when she worked there. She has kept her dignity though as she hasnt yet 'opened the tin of worms' which i bet she could and i hope she does
 
Stuart Ryan wrote
at 18:41:32 on 19 December 2012
As you can see I have disclosed my name Gareth, as for paying for the taxi ranks, I was on the understanding that the taxi ranks are paid for by the fees we as hackney carriage trade pay for within our license fees, any new venture coming into the city where hackney carriage stands within the plans that the venture would pay for that facility. All I ask as a hackney carriage driver driving a public transport vehicle for the public to have full use of these facilities in the right places. As I have done in the past and will be doing in the near future I will be taking this up with my local MP. I think the way that the new policy has been introduced by the council is one big joke, not just for the hackney carriage trade, but for private hire as well. This policy needs a seriously look at in the near future by the council and that's if they can do anything about it now it has been introduced without any thought or consideration from the drivers within this trade.
 
Gareth Netherwood wrote
at 14:12:57 on 18 December 2012
Since my original comment there was two comments in reply,which has obviously touched a nerve, hold on a minute 1-2 yes.Not one of them comments actually answered the main question which was,"Are you willing to pay for this?" Iam not surprised you do not get any where with Licensing! Just for the record for you people with no name,I don't work for Licensing or the council, but I do have a badge. So next time you quite rightly say there is not enough Taxi ranks or that they are in the wrong place, be prepared to answer whether you are prepared to pay for it.
 
NO NAME NO GAME wrote
at 10:19:38 on 18 December 2012
G. Netherwood . The investigation related to £100,000 fraud . How can a fraud on this scale be undetected for so long ? Why has the outcome been covered up by inept salford clowncil ?
 
No name wrote
at 09:10:07 on 18 December 2012
Gareth Netherwood you clearly work for the clowncil, i say this not from the tone of your comment but from your lack of ability to count! Three posts not two, previous to yours did not have a "full name". Also why do you think posters do not leave a full name when this page is being monitered by you clowns for the circus like you.
 
Gareth Netherwood wrote
at 22:13:39 on 17 December 2012
Just like to make a comment on what Olla and Paul wrote. "bent Bitch in Licensing" and "I wonder what happened to a certain person involved". As far as i know, nobody has been found guilty of any thing yet.I wonder if either of you two would like to be tarred with that brush before being found guilty of something. Regarding Taxi ranks, yes you could have got a better deal here, but doesn't current law state that it is the hackney trade that has to pay for it. Are you willing to pay for this? Ive left my full name unlike the two people that made the earlier comments
 
Olla wrote
at 09:14:07 on 16 December 2012
That's interesting , Paul What did happen to that bent bitch in licensing ? Another clowncil cover-up ?
 
paul wrote
at 18:29:22 on 15 December 2012
I've been a salford black driver for almost 18 years, in my time i havent seen any new ranks.Talking to salford council is like banging your head against a brick wall,how can we trust them after the licensing fraud casses ? (i wonder what happend to a certain person who was involved ?) maybe they got of with it because they could of opened a can of worms !!! dont forget they have said thet hate taxi drivers.
 
Nachtschleper wrote
at 12:52:22 on 15 December 2012
Typical of the witless, spineless council. They no longer represent the people of this city. Either listen to your constiuents or get out.
 
Lee Craven MBE wrote
at 11:50:44 on 15 December 2012
Congratulations Salford Star, on highlighting to what All I can say " Mayhem & Confusion" As a user of the Black Cabs of Salford for over 25 years,their Loyalty is second to none,always helpful and kind and that includes the main switchboard staff, I personally have found this new System "Bonkers" My view is that this rank at Tesco needs enlarging, and a new Rank also on the other side of Tesco's,and a brand new rank within and around the shopping City. It's ok for Salford Council not to reply to such issues,as they don't seem to lately anyway What about the Elderly and Disabled who don't go to Tesco ,but still rely on their Cabbie. Councillors are too busy at the moment cutting back Services that effect us and their workers,but don't seem to bother about cutting back their now very high Allowances ,plus Extras,where are the local councillors in this matter?? Salford Black Cabbies your doing a great Job, and I back you in everything you do.
 
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