Taxi drivers in Sheffield have been warned they could lose their licences as part of a crackdown on ‘inappropriate behaviour’.
South Yorkshire Police, Sheffield Council and East Midlands Trains have jointly written to cab drivers to warn them about their behaviour, particularly at taxi ranks by Sheffield railway station and on Carver Street in the city centre.
Officials say problems include illegal parking, obstructing the highway, blocking business entrances and drivers behaving in an ‘offensive’ and ‘aggressive’ manner.
However, the Sheffield Taxi Trade Association say the warning is ‘unfair’ to the majority of law-abiding drivers – and claims issues are partly being caused by the council and police failing to properly clampdown on unlicensed drivers illegally plying for fares.
The letter sent to drivers said there had been complaints from members of the public and businesses in regard to ‘ongoing problems’ at the station.
The letter said patrols of the area are to be stepped up, with offending drivers being referred to the council’s licensing committee and potentially losing their licences.
It also warned station permits may be removed from drivers, while the number of taxis allowed at the station may also be reduced.
The letter said: “The actions of drivers are putting public safety at risk and are not those we expect of licensed drivers in Sheffield.”
However, Hafeas Rehman, chairman of the Sheffield Taxi Trade Association, said recent works to change the layout around the railway station have improved matters.
He said drivers should obey the rules, but said some problems were being caused because of ‘illegal plying for hire’ by drivers not licensed to pick up passengers without a booking.
He said: “If the council tackled the issue in the city centre then probably you wouldn’t get drivers parking up where the mini-cabs and private hire drivers park.
“That is the underlying issue.”