Sheffield taxi drivers win right to work for more than one company

Sheffield taxi drivers have won their plea to keep the right to work for multiple platforms under new city council licensing rules.
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A review of the rules issued by Sheffield City Council had been due to ban taxi and private hire firm drivers for working for more than one company.

This was an attempt to cut the number of jobs that are refused because of the perception that working on multiple platforms means drivers can pick and choose more.

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Ex-city councillor and long-standing taxi driver Ibrar Hussain and GMB trade union taxi drivers’ representative Nasar Raoof both spoke out against the idea at a meeting of the city council waste and street scene policy committee.

Sheffield train station taxi rank: city taxi drivers have overturned a bid by Sheffield City Council to stop them working for more than one firmSheffield train station taxi rank: city taxi drivers have overturned a bid by Sheffield City Council to stop them working for more than one firm
Sheffield train station taxi rank: city taxi drivers have overturned a bid by Sheffield City Council to stop them working for more than one firm

The meeting approved a review of the council’s hackney carriage and private hire policy, following changes in government rules.

Ibrar Hussain, who complained to the committee that the council’s taxi driver service needs improvement, objected to the proposal that drivers can only work for one firm.

He said: “Drivers should be allowed to work for as many companies as they want. The world is moving so fast but the licensing service is unfortunately in the 19th century and it is disappointing.

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“You’ve got to work with the trade and understand the trade practically, which is on the ground outside.”

Sheffield taxi driver Ibrar Hussain objected to city council plans to make drivers work for only one companySheffield taxi driver Ibrar Hussain objected to city council plans to make drivers work for only one company
Sheffield taxi driver Ibrar Hussain objected to city council plans to make drivers work for only one company

Nasar Raoof, who represents more than 1,000 drivers, mainly in Sheffield, said: “Restricting self-employed drivers and tell them they can only work on one platform, I don’t think you’ve got the right to do that.

‘Huge burden of costs’

“They’re self employed and you can’t guarantee them an income.

“There’s a cost of living crisis we’re all facing. There’s a huge burden of costs to deal with.”

GMB trade union taxi drivers' representative Nasar Raoof said that Sheffield City Council had no right to restrict how many firms self-employed drivers can work forGMB trade union taxi drivers' representative Nasar Raoof said that Sheffield City Council had no right to restrict how many firms self-employed drivers can work for
GMB trade union taxi drivers' representative Nasar Raoof said that Sheffield City Council had no right to restrict how many firms self-employed drivers can work for
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He also said that the system of penalties for drivers who break the law needs to be looked at again to make sure it’s fair to everyone.

Paul Gosney, who is business development manager at City Taxis, agreed with the rule about drivers working for only one platform at a time. He said it would improve public safety and service levels.

He said there was a big problem with jobs being declined which the new rule could help to overcome.

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James Martin also spoke from the public gallery to say that the delivery of disability awareness training needs to speeded up, faster than the three years which was being proposed.

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He said drivers need training to ensure that people with disabilities feel listened to and respected and so that drivers understand the needs of different groups.

He added: “Let’s just get the city into a place where it’s easier for disabled people to use the taxi service and where drivers are getting training much quicker than the three-year period.”

Licensing officer Craig Harper pledged to ensure that problems introducing the driver training would be overcome as soon as possible. These include a shortage of suitable trainers.

The committee agreed to introduce the new rules, which also deal with issues including safeguarding, refusal of fares and overcharging, but to drop the restriction on the number of firms that drivers can work for.

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The proposed rules were also changed so that drivers no longer have to display the name of the firm they work for on their cars. Instead, car signage will have to be approved by the council’s licensing services department.