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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 6:36 am 
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Posts: 4666
Something a bit different from Birmingham about the CAZ, but it does go on a bit, and the latter part is mostly a rehash of previous stuff.

Not sure what all the old photos are about, but maybe it's from when the lads quoted here started in the trade. Either that or it's hinting that some of the current fleet are almost as old as the drivers :lol:


Future of Birmingham's black cabs 'at risk' as drivers claim: 'They want shot of us'

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/m ... t-16279319

Cab drivers claim the iconic taxi could be driven off the city's streets

Image
Image: Birmingham Mail

The iconic black cab is being 'driven off the streets of Birmingham' and could be consigned to history, according to veteran drivers.

Cabbies are furious over what they see as Birmingham City Council's 'vendetta' against them over the introduction of the Clean Air Zone in the city in January.

"They want shot of us," claimed Terry Yates, 71, who has now submitted a petition signed by 148 of his fellow 'old timer cabbies', all over 60, claiming the moves amount to 'age discrimination.'

"In London the black cab is feted as an icon and a symbol of the city - yet here we are treated like an embarrassment," said drivers' representative Sajid Mahmood, from the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union Midlands regional council.

"We feel the council has no interest in the black cab trade and wouldn't care if we all just disappeared. Some feel they are being encouraged to get off the road."

Image
Image: Birmingham Mail

The black cab has been part of the city's transport heritage for decades and should be encouraged and preserved, not decimated, he added.

The cabbies are angry over what they see as a four pronged attack on their livelihoods and the future of the black cab.

These are:

* new restrictions for cabs as part of the city's Clean Air Zone policies, which demand significant financial spending on new vehicles or conversions

* not exempting black cabs from the Clean Air Zone charges, as is the case in London

* failing to take enforcement action against cabs licensed in other cities who ply their trade in Birmingham

* the proliferation of licences for private hire, including Uber and newcomer Ola.

Talks have been held over the past six months, leading to a series of concessions - but cabbies say they don't go far enough.

Further talks between the RMT union and the city council are taking place on Tuesday, with hopes for further action amid threats of more go-slow protests in the city.

Image
Image: Birmingham Mail

John Mitchell, 72, has been a cabbie since 1977 and says Birmingham City Council has never been a "friend" of the black cab trade.

"We have had to fight for every concession," he said.

"When the bus lanes were introduced we were initially excluded and had to battle for the right to use those lanes - yet in London the attitude was totally different. The black cabs are seen as part of the transport network."

He still plies his trade part-time but expects to pack it in shortly.

"It took me three to four years to get my cab licence, because you had to pass a really detailed test," he said.

"My test was taken by an ex-policeman, who barked questions at me out of a portfolio, like how would I get from here to here, or where is this pub or that church and how would I get there. If you were a mile out of any distance questions you'd fail. I failed the first time.

"It's still a very tough test but we also think there is more leniency for private hire vehicles. We didn't have sat nav or mobile phones, we had to learn every street.

"There are 8,000 private hire vehicles now, and around 600 black cabs. The way things are going at least 100 of those will go this year, and I don't think they will be replaced. How long the rest last, I don't know.

"I don't think anyone over the age of 50 will be in a position to buy a new vehicle, they wouldn't be able to entertain it, especially when these new electric cabs haven't been around so long, and might not be as reliable.

"There aren't enough charging points around, and if you live in a block of flats or a terrace how are you going to be able to plug in to charge at home? I really don't think the council has thought this through."

But John says life as a cabbie has been 'mostly' a pleasure, with stars of stage and screen including veteran entertainers Lionel Blair and Danny la Rue.

"I have picked up lots of famous people," he said.

"I've had Joan Collins in the back of my cab, and Lionel Blair, Danny la Rue, all the pantomime stars. When the TV studios were here and Pebble Mill I carried all the Tiswas lot, Chris Tarrant, Lenny Henry , all of them.

"It's just lovely meeting people and chatting to them, people like a chat. It's why I keep going."

Image
Image: Birmingham Mail

Terry Yates, 71, from Bournville, has collected a petition signed by 148 fellow drivers over 60, claiming age discrimination.

They say the council's new anti-pollution policies ahead of the introduction of the Clean Air Zone will drive experienced drivers off the road, leaving the way clear for private hire companies and app-led firms Uber and Ola to take over.

"It's a unique vehicle - there is nothing quite like it, and the cabbies are the most knowledgeable on the road," he said.

"Yet the city council seems determined to drive us off the road."

The role of the city's black cab fleet in the immediate aftermath of the Birmingham pub bombings, ferrying the injured to hospitals, was highlighted at the recent inquest hearings into the deaths.

"Anyone working that night rushed to the area to do what we could to help. There were just not enough ambulances so we did our bit," said Terry.

"Yet now, rather than being praised, we seem to be under constant attack.

"The new congestion charge under the Clean Air Zone will have a big impact, especially on us older drivers who only work part time.

"We can't afford to buy a new electric vehicle costing more than £60,000 at our time of life, or pay for the conversions, so we will have no choice than to pay the charges.

"It is wrong.

"We have this, then on top of that the city council gives licences to Uber and now Ola, whose drivers don't have to have the same level of experience and knowledge that we do. The city is also full of drivers who are licensed in Wolverhampton and other cities, but who come to Birmingham, and very little is being done to clamp down on them plying for hire here.

"It is all very unfair. They have it in for us."

Chris Chapman, 61, says he'd love to buy a new electric cab and be part of the city council's anti pollution revolution - but it's just not financially viable.

"It's a really worrying time," he said.

"I am just about making a decent living now, working 70 to 80 hours a week, but my vehicle is up for replacement and I have to decide whether to buy a diesel one and pay the daily charge, or get one converted. Buying an electric cab for over £60k is just not feasible.

"If I packed it in, who would employ a 61 year old?

"I think it's clear the city council has made it clear it wants fewer black cabs on the road. It doesn't seem interested in individual people - it's just numbers."

It's not just the new Clean Air Zone plans that are threatening the cab trade, he adds.

"We are getting it from all sides. I have no problem with competition as long as it's healthy but we are also getting flooded with private hire and cabs from out of town, Wolverhampton, Bromsgrove, Shrewsbury and so on, as well as Uber. It's made it tough."

Added Chris: "I have loved the job. I have no regrets about what I do, we have had some great times. We have been in the thick of it at big events like the Euros and big shows, and I love meeting people and having a chat about their day.

"I've carried all sorts in the back of the cab - dogs and cats, famous people like Tommy Cooper.

"I would not have changed it but feel it's all different now."

What Birmingham City Council say

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: “A Clean Air Zone targets the most polluting vehicles. We have earmarked 39 per cent (£15m) of the £38m funding we have successfully bid for from the Government specifically for Hackney carriage and private hire drivers. This is more than for any other sector.

“We have consulted with the taxi and private hire trade and have also met with trade representatives on numerous occasions to discuss their concerns. Their feedback has helped shape the licensing policies we have prepared in readiness for the Clean Air Zone.

“We are unable to offer any further concessions as this would put us in breach of the terms under which the Government awarded the funding and would leave us unable to deliver the required air quality improvements.

"This would result in us having to repay the money and leave drivers without the financial support we have worked so hard to secure for them.”

The council also says it is addressing issues around electric charging points - it has been awarded funding by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to install 197 EV charging points in approximately 80 locations for the exclusive use of electric and hybrid taxis and private hire vehicles. These charging facilities are planned in the city centre, at Tyseley Energy Park and at a number of locations around the outer circle.

The new charging points should be available by December 2019.

The background

Cabbies have been urging the council to renegotiate its plans for supporting black cabs ahead of the introduction of the Clean Air Zone in January 2020.

They launched go-slow demonstrations after the council approved a new emissions policy for Hackney carriage and private hire drivers.

Essentially, the proposals meant that their vehicles would have to adhere to age restrictions instead of the Euro 4 (petrol) and Euro 6 (diesel) vehicle standards applying to everyone else.

While from 2021 all newly licensed taxis will have to be ultra low emission, after the date was brought forward from 2026.

The angry drivers want the council to extend the grace period for taxis to be ultra low emission back to 2026; exempt cabs from the new Clean Air Zone charges; and contribute more towards the cost of converting cabs to LPG.

Their frustrations and those of private hire vehicles also affected by the Clean Air Zone plans spilled over at recent meetings of the city's licensing committee, when drivers claimed their concerns were being stifled.

At a meeting last month some councillors left the committee room, saying they felt intimidated by the shouting and comments of upset drivers. As a result the city council is reviewing security at meetings.

Mr Mahmood said the drivers involved had no intention of distressing any of the councillors and he apologised for any fear caused.

"Nobody would have had any intention of causing upset and I am very sorry if anyone felt worried. Some drivers feel their concerns for their livelihoods and futures are at risk and that the council has not understood or taken on board some of the concerns we have."

Mr Mahmood said the different attitude towards the black cab in the capital compared to Birmingham was telling.

"The London black taxi is rightly recognised as an icon. They are seen as an integral part of the transport network, providing, quick, accessible, safe and knowledgeable travel across London.

"The taxi is exempt from the congestion charge for that reason.

"We are unique - among other things we are wheelchair accessible and for some disabled people the black cab is the only form of public transport suitable for their needs.

"But here they are not celebrated at all. We are treated badly."


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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 6:38 am 
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Quote:
"I've had Joan Collins in the back of my cab...

:shock: 8-[

Quote:
...and Lionel Blair, Danny la Rue, all the pantomime stars."

:shock: :shock: 8-[ 8-[


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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 9:00 am 
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Location: Lincoln
Where did they get those pictures from?

Double Diamond? They stopped brewing that in 1896 didn’t they?

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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 9:50 am 
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jimbo wrote:
Where did they get those pictures from?

Double Diamond? They stopped brewing that in 1896 didn’t they?


All three taxi photos are captioned 'TOA taxis', so it's a fair bet that the TOA supplied them.

The second photo is Birmingham Airport (obviously) and the third the NEC. Both of those two are labelled 1976. Which would be consistent with what looks like an Escort estate from about that time in the second photo.


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