25 April 2006

Derry taxi men plan big protest

Derry Journal

25 April 2006

DERRY COULD experience serious traffic disruption tomorrow afternoon when up to 150 protesting taxi drivers are expected to join a cavalcade to the DVLNI offices at Newbuildings where they will hand in a petition.
The drivers are protesting about the suspension of taxi regulations which were to be introduced in two months time.
Paul Leonard, Chairman of the Taxi Drivers Initiative (TDI) said the local taxi industry was now at crisis point.
He told the Journal yesterday: "This demonstration is to demand the immediate introduction of that legislation and a fare structure in order that taximen get a fair day's pay for a day's work. The industry is being crippled due to the number of illegal taxis which swamp this town, and the DOE has been anything but sympathetic to our plight.
"This legislation is very important in that it puts the onus on taxi office owners and makes it their responsibility in regards who they employ.
"We have also tabled a parliamentary question through the offices of the SDLP and we welcome the fact that this protest has received the support of all the political parties."
The initiative was set up two years ago in response to the introduction of taxi plates for the licensing of public service vehicles and have raised their concerns with the Department of the Environment previously.
Paul Leonard said: "We have to take a stand and let people know that the astronomical high costs of running and maintaining a taxi. Our PSV costs alone have doubled in that time but the DOE only paid lip service to our concerns so we felt we had no choice but take our concerns onto the streets."
The cavalcade departs Sainsbury's carpark at 10.30am travel south along the Foyle embankment across Foyle Street, up Shipquay Street, down Carlisle Road over the bridge down the Victoria Road to the DVLNI Test centre where they will hand in the petition outlining their concerns. All taxi drivers are welcome to participate.

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