Taxi drivers and disabled service users unite to fight Leeds station changes

Socialist Party members joined Unite taxi & private hire drivers, disabled taxi users and Unite Community activists in a protest outside Leeds Civic Hall in opposition to plans by the council and Network Rail to move the taxi rank outside the station as part of redevelopment plans.

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

As Wasim, one of the Unite taxi & private hire drivers at the protest explained to us “At present the taxi rank is just outside one of the entrances, with a sheltered area for four taxis and space for 33 taxis total to queue on a private road leading up to it. Under the new arrangements, this will be moved further away with space for just six taxis in total, which is totally inadequate given how busy the station gets.”

Despite a consultation run by the council, a survey conducted by Unite showed 76% of respondents were unaware of the plans. Whilst 75% asked a verbal snapshot question as to whether the taxi rank should remain or be moved, said it should remain at its current location.

The anger of some of the drivers at the Labour-run was palpable. As one driver told me, at the planning meeting discussing the redevelopment of the station all the Labour councillors just deferred to the decisions of the full time officers rather than take a stand in defence of taxi drivers and disabled people. He had been a Labour Party member but had now left in disgust.

Unite members on the protest were clear, the redevelopment plans will cause chaos for them and for those wanting to use their taxis from the station. Therefore the campaign to oppose it will continue until the council and Network Rail are forced to revise these plans.

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