MORE than 50 drivers attended a protest outside Luton Town Hall yesterday over safety issues and the ‘unfair’ issuing of licenses.
The protest was organised by Luton Hackney Carriage Association and Luton Borough Drivers Union with the aim of raising a number of longstanding issues they have had with Luton Borough Council.
In a jointly released statement the two groups raised their concerns, which include fears the public could be at risk from drivers who are operating in Luton but not under the jurisdiction of Luton Borough Council (LBC).
Mushtaq Ahmed, chairman of Luton Borough Drivers Union, said: “We wanted to show our anger about how Luton Borough Council are turning a blind eye to us.
“The next step is to arrange a meeting with Luton Borough Council so we can hear their side.
“Any further protests will be subject to the outcome of the proposed meeting.”
The statement released by the two groups read: “Drivers suspended by Luton Borough Council for serious offences are back working in Luton with Uber.
“[The] council is ignoring the lessons of Rotherham Child Sexual Exploitation Case which involved taxis and minicabs working unchecked outside their licensed zones.
“Lack of enforcement increases public vulnerability; Councillors and Licensing Enforcement will be held directly accountable for any unfortunate incident as they have been repeatedly warned about this risk.”
Other areas of concern which have been raised are:
- Accusations that Central Bedfordshire-based drivers have been granted licences to operate in Luton
- That licensed Luton drivers are being forced out of the profession by drivers who don’t pay money to the council
- That more drivers who are coming in from elsewhere lack the local knowledge that the licensed drivers do
BoS has contacted Luton Borough Council for a comment.