Faced with what is being named a ‘virtual monopoly’, taxi drivers in Hull have come together to form a new Hull Drivers Association (HDA).
The not-for-profit association has been set up by members of the city’s licensed taxi trade to protect the interests and the welfare of every licensed taxi driver in Hull, which is now dominated by just two main private hire taxi firms, Drive and 82.
David T. Wade, who has been assigned as the association’s legal adviser, said: “It has reached crisis point in the city; having just two main taxi firms in Hull has created a virtual monopoly which has negatively affected drivers’ earnings, careers, health and welfare.
“With one of the main Hull offices basing its business model on Ubers system, it has left drivers questioning how this will impact things for both the drivers and passengers. As well as taking a percentage of the drivers’ earnings, worryingly, this office is surcharging similar to Uber after 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays, where the fares dramatically increase to the passenger. The drivers may benefit from this in the short term as it appears they are earning more money but inevitably the office also makes further financial gains.
Even though the association has only been set up in the last week and grown by word of mouth, lots of new members have signed up.
One seasoned private hire driver from Hull to have recently enrolled in the HDA, and who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “The association has given us a voice, given us good representation and support, without the risk of being persecuted or victimised by the owners. We can now speak out without retribution; it’s really important because at the moment it is ‘my way or the highway’ as far as the operators are concerned.
Another private hire driver from the city, who also remained anonymous, said: “This is about us working together with the operators, the council and all parties involved in the taxi trade in Hull to help create a sustainable, long-term taxi industry providing safe and secure services to the public, where drivers and operators can be profitable in an industry which has high training standards and is free of out-dated or racist and restrictive attitudes.”
There is a flat £20 annual fee for any driver in Hull who wishes to be part of the Hull Drivers Association. All of the membership fee will be used for the benefit of HDA members for running costs, including legal costs and aiding the association to put forward drivers’ views and concerns with the local council and MPs directly linked to taxi issues in Hull. The fee will also go towards supporting the association give Hull taxi drivers a voice in parliament on the taxi industry via the Task Finish Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Group.
The Hull Drivers Association Promises
- As outlined in the contents of the Institute of Licensing Guidance (2.1) our aim, like our Local Licensing Authority is to protect the public.
- Like our Local Licensing Authority we will aim to maintain the high level of standards which have been set by our Local Authority.
- None of our members will be left behind in issues regarding local legislation and disciplinary issues.
- We aim to form a working relationship with our local elected members of parliament in the interests of all of our Associations Members and in the interests of drivers welfare.
- All our Members will have access to free local advice relating to disciplinary concerns.
- In the past Hull Taxi Drivers haven’t had ready access to affordable expert taxi legislation legal advice. All our Members in the event of having to have expert legal representation are entitled to a generous reduced fixed fee, unlike in the past.
- The appointed Associations Correspondence Officer will communicate on behalf of the Association’s Members with all relevant third parties as mentioned above.
- Under the Data Protection Act of 2018 (GDPR) all our Association’s Members details will remain strictly confidential.