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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:52 am 
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Taxi drivers' anger at Newcastle Central Station fees charged during pandemic as demand plummets

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/no ... l-19259318

Drivers have called on London North Eastern Railway to ease the burden of permit payments at the station due to the the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on their business

Taxi drivers based at Newcastle Central Station have hit out at a transport operator after they were told to pay hundreds of pounds in fees despite losing 80% of their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the beginning of the first lockdown in March, London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has waived permit fees paid by cabbies who work at the station.

But at the end of October, drivers were told to pay £253.75 to cover the remainder of the year - a 50% reduction on the usual amount.

LNER has said it "understands" the uncertainty of the pandemic, saying that the sum equates to 25% of the annual fee, but drivers suffering with falling business have called for the rail firm to reconsider.

In an email to ChronicleLive, a spokesperson on behalf of the drivers at the station said: "Taxi/private hire drivers around the county have been hit really hard with the Covid pandemic.

"The taxi industry is heavily reliant on the hospitality industry and people movement."

They pointed out that footfall around the station is now less than 30% of usual levels and some taxi drivers are sitting in the rank for between nine and 12 hours a day but only carrying out three or four jobs.

The email continued: "The work has dropped by 80%. Many drivers have had to install a private hire radio to subsidise their income, some drivers have just walked away from their permits with some handing their taxi vehicle licence back to the local authority."

On the second national lockdown, they said: "These new measures will have a huge detrimental effect on the taxi industry as a whole and any potential earnings for the foreseeable future, as well as the money the Department for Transport wants from the taxi drivers at Newcastle Central Station."

Among those hit hard by the restrictions is Steve Sholder, who has been a taxi driver in the Newcastle area for about 40 years.

"We have still got bills to pay and even with them charging 50% we have got to make a decision on whether to pay the permit or put food on the table," he said.

"The North East, as we all know, is one of the poorest regions in the country but Newcastle Central Station is one of the most expensive in the whole of the UK."

He said the impact of the pandemic has caused some drivers to hand in their permits and many others are staying at home as they are unable to get work.

A spokesperson from LNER said: “LNER values the services provided by station partners and we are aware of the continued uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Following six months of waiving all fees, we have recently sought a reduced payment for the remainder of the year and have provided for an extended payment term for this reduced amount, which after our 50% concession equates to just 25% of the annual charge for drivers operating on the rank.”

The spokesperson added that drivers who are struggling should get in touch with LNER to discuss additional support.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:52 am 
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LNER wrote:
"Following six months of waiving all fees, we have recently sought a reduced payment for the remainder of the year and have provided for an extended payment term for this reduced amount, which after our 50% concession equates to just 25% of the annual charge for drivers operating on the rank.”

I'm assuming the yearly permit normally runs from around March/April, so they got the first six months free, but are now paying half price for the remaining six months through to March/April 2021.

Which certainly seems more generous than East Midlands Railway and the Sheffield drivers, who got precisely zero discount?

On the other hand, Newcastle looks like it normally charges around £1,000 annually, compared to £618 for Sheffield station. But the discounted £250 for the year at Newcastle certainly a lot better than £618 at Sheffield.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 12:26 pm 
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StuartW wrote:
LNER wrote:
"Following six months of waiving all fees, we have recently sought a reduced payment for the remainder of the year and have provided for an extended payment term for this reduced amount, which after our 50% concession equates to just 25% of the annual charge for drivers operating on the rank.”

I'm assuming the yearly permit normally runs from around March/April, so they got the first six months free, but are now paying half price for the remaining six months through to March/April 2021.

Which certainly seems more generous than East Midlands Railway and the Sheffield drivers, who got precisely zero discount?

On the other hand, Newcastle looks like it normally charges around £1,000 annually, compared to £618 for Sheffield station. But the discounted £250 for the year at Newcastle certainly a lot better than £618 at Sheffield.



I seem to remember quite a big thread about the protests by Newcastle drivers when it went up to that much as it was a pretty hefty jump at the time

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:19 pm 
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I seem to remember quite a big thread about the protests by Newcastle drivers when it went up to that much as it was a pretty hefty jump at the time

Well that clearly didn't work.

Maybe it was because the drivers were afraid that if they didn't renew then someone else waiting would have renewed for them.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:23 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
Quote:
I seem to remember quite a big thread about the protests by Newcastle drivers when it went up to that much as it was a pretty hefty jump at the time

Well that clearly didn't work.

Maybe it was because the drivers were afraid that if they didn't renew then someone else waiting would have renewed for them.


Correct, there was a party who was going to take it enbloc and charge the TAXIS or private hire who wanted to work the station accordingly.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:55 pm 
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I used to enjoy picking up from Newcastle Central station...but then they "Developed" it and turned in to a place I avoid, the same happened after they "Developed" Edinburgh Waverley Station...."Developed" must mean taking something that was user friendly and turning in to something everybody hates using be they customers or providers.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 1:52 pm 
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bloodnock wrote:
I used to enjoy picking up from Newcastle Central station...but then they "Developed" it and turned in to a place I avoid, the same happened after they "Developed" Edinburgh Waverley Station...."Developed" must mean taking something that was user friendly and turning in to something everybody hates using be they customers or providers.

Anything like that *always* works out worse for car or cab drivers [-(


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:24 pm 
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Looking at street view, and having been there several times, the rank is outside the station, and the public can access the rank from all directions, so why are they paying a permit fee, totally stupid .


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:04 am 
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skippy41 wrote:
Looking at street view, and having been there several times, the rank is outside the station, and the public can access the rank from all directions, so why are they paying a permit fee, totally stupid .


The rank is not on the public highway.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:39 pm 
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According to this reply from the Trains Minister the DfT appear to be looking to see if there is anything that can be done re permits.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?i ... 6.115778.h

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