TAXI drivers say they are “fed up” with council regulations after a new car policy was suspended by town hall chiefs following a backlash from the trade.
Drivers accused Barrow Borough Council of forcing them out of the business by quickly introducing policies they claimed could affect them financially.
The council’s recently-passed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing Policy has been suspended pending further consultation with drivers.
A regulation called Euro 5 has proved particularly controversial. Relating to emissions, it means some drivers will have to buy cars newer than 2011 to obtain a licence from the council.
The Mail was told one driver bought a car for £3,000 only to discover he could not license it because it did not meet new requirements.
He then used the car as a deposit to buy a new car shortly before the policy was suspended.
One taxi driver, George Harkin, said: “We are being driven out of the trade by the licensing authority and its regulations.
“This policy puts the livelihoods of taxi drivers at risk and would mean fewer taxis on the road, putting the public at risk as a more limited taxi service would become available.
“The consultation was not carried out properly. Two drafts were not consulted on with the trade.
“We have a good taxi service here in Barrow, which also is affordable to our community, and these policy changes would have a negative impact.”
Councillor Tony Callister, chairman of the licensing committee, confirmed the policy had been suspended after concerns were raised about the level of consultation with drivers.
He said: “As chairman I was contacted by one of the local drivers who shared a concern that part of the policy was not agreed upon by the trade.” Bob Mullen, secretary of the Furness Taxi Trade Association, said: “This policy came as a shock. We were not consulted with on it at all. Another taxi driver, Brian White, said: “It’s killing us. I don’t what they want us to do.”