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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:01 pm 
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Almost put this below Edward's post from last night, but this is more specifically about the trade, so if I just posted this piece as a reply some readers might have missed it :idea:


Leeds taxi drivers left facing 'two Covids' after Clean Air Zone scrapped

https://www.leeds-live.co.uk/news/leeds ... predirect=

Some spent thousands of pounds on new hybrid cars which are no longer needed

Taxi and private hire drivers in Leeds have been left to deal with "two Covids" after the city's Clean Air Zone was scrapped.

Due to be introduced this year, the multi-million pound scheme to improve air quality in Leeds has suddenly been ditched after pollution levels dropped far quicker than expected across the city. £11.5 million has already been spent on the project.

However, taxi drivers have been warned for years that they would face a daily charge of £12.50 if they did not have an environmentally-friendly vehicle, such as a hybrid car.

Although Leeds City Council offered interest-free loans of up to £10,000 and grants of up to £1,500, it has left dozens of taxi drivers furious at being left with expensive cars which are no longer required.

Saeed Ur Rahman, general secretary of the Leeds Private Hire Drivers Organisation (LPHDO), said that while companies will suffer, it is individual drivers - such as Uber drivers - who have been worst affected by the shock announcement.

"We have two Covids," he said.

"There is Covid-19 itself and then there was the Clean Air Zone.

"Drivers were told they needed to invest a lot of money into cars and we were all so scared about having non-compliant cars.

"I spent about about £40,000 to switch 70 per cent of my company's fleet to hybrid or LPG, because I thought they were needed for the Clean Air Zone - but it turns out they are not.

"But for individual drivers it even worse. There are drivers who can't survive because they can't pay back the loans.

"The problem is I know a lot of drivers, particularly those in our union, who simply can't afford to be drivers anymore.

"A lot of drivers have been suffering [because of Covid-19]. They don't know what to do."

Saeed told LeedsLive that a number of private hire drivers have been forced to change jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen demand for taxis plummet since March.

But the scrapping of the Clean Air Zone has thrown up another massive financial hurdle for drivers who have spent thousands of pounds of new vehicles.

"If you look around on a Friday night in Leeds, most of the private hire vehicles are hybrid cars," said Saeed. "A few years go, there were hardly any.

"I feel really bad for the individual drivers. I really do. They are the ones who are most affected."

The Clean Air Zone would have encompassed practically all of Leeds, with charges of up to £50 a day for non-compliant buses and heavy goods vehicles.

Leeds City Council said that £7.5 million has been spent on support packages for who have upgraded their vehicles, but it is asking government for a further £6.9 million to provide additional support by subsidising licenses in the coming years.

Polly Cook, the council's chief officer for sustainable energy and air quality, said: "I appreciate that some people may be a bit resentful, but the other side of it is the vehicles they are driving now are much more cost-effective in the long-term and they have had support.

"We have seen the switch to cleaner vehicles much faster than we had expected.

"We have achieved the CAZ objective without the CAZ actually being introduced. We've never charged the vehicles, but we have cleaner air.

"Even now, if we were to introduce the CAZ it wouldn't make a significant difference, because of the changeover of fleet that we've already experienced."


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 7:30 pm
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Location: 1066 Country
Quote:
Saeed Ur Rahman, general secretary of the Leeds Private Hire Drivers Organisation (LPHDO), said that while companies will suffer, it is individual drivers - such as Uber drivers - who have been worst affected by the shock announcement.

"We have two Covids," he said.

"There is Covid-19 itself and then there was the Clean Air Zone.

Anyone who equates a balls up in a Clean Air Zone application and a virus that has killed over 42,000 in the UK is an idiot.

But sadly this is often the level of trade representatives we have. :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad:

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:35 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2005 8:44 pm
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Location: Scotland
In other words, drivers cannot afford his sky high office rents, and he is loosing out , greedy bar steward


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