ANXIOUS taxi drivers in Chester are fearing for their jobs.
Members of the city’s Licensed Hackney Association are angry about how many licences are being granted by the local authority.
The black cab drivers say they are being forced to work dangerously long shifts to make ends meet as customer numbers drop and taxi driver numbers increase.
Now they are calling on Cheshire West and Chester Council to investigate the issue and postpone the granting of licences until a resolution is found.
Cabbie Ian Barlow said: “The council has made a mistake by derestricting numbers of licences, there is over-ranking all over the city.”
Chester Licensed Hackney Association secretary Chris Farrell has sent letters to the 72 councillors serving the unitary authority demanding action.
He said: “Our trade has seen a 30% increase of cabs plying for hire to reduced customer numbers.
“To make matters worse the council has been issuing plates to people who live 50 miles away and do not have a clue where they are going. This has resulted in over-charging, arguments and complaints.
“Our excellent service is in danger of collapse, so we urge the new council to act now to prevent any further damage to our trade and the livelihoods of hundreds of Cestrians.”
Cheshire West and Chester Council plans to address the issue. Spokesman Mike McGivern said: “The former Chester City Council and Vale Royal Borough councils had de-limited hackney carriage numbers in their zones and Cheshire West and Chester Council is bound to operate within the rules as they now stand.
“We are aware of Chester Licensed Hackney Association’s concerns and the council will be looking in detail at the issue later this year”.
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