RMT pushes back implementation of taxi access charges

RMT pushes back implementation of taxi access charges

11 September 2015

RMT Press Office

RMT pushes back implementation of taxi access charges at Birmingham New Street station.

Taxi union RMT’s campaign against the hike in access charges for drivers serving the public at Birmingham New Street station has scored a major victory with Network Rail pushing back the implementation to allow for further consultation. The proposed charges would lump RMT taxi members with charges as high as £1,000 a year.

 

Network Rail intended to levy the huge fees on drivers starting from 20 September 2015 - the date when the newly refurbished station re-opens. However, as a result of the RMT campaign it has been forced to rethink its plans.

 

Faced with a boycott by Hackney Carriage taxi drivers, Network Rail had sought to illegally fill the taxi spaces with minicabs. These are vehicles that, for safety reasons, need to be pre-booked and which passengers cannot pick up from ranks direct.

 

Given the well-publicised concerns about unregulated rogue minicab drivers, this was a shocking error by Network Rail bosses . Alerted by RMT’s public campaign -  co-ordinated by the local branch and the West Midlands Regional Council - Birmingham City Council representatives quickly recognised Network Rail had made a major error and have sent the rail body’s plans back to the drawing board.

 

Network Rail’s climb down involves it having to refund the annual permits already purchased by minicab operators, with it forced instead to start a consultation with the bodies that represent taxi drivers in Birmingham – RMT, TOA and ComCab.

 

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary said:

 

“The climb down by Network Rail over the introduction of outrageous taxi access charges has been secured as a result of the hard work and determination of RMT taxi members. However, we recognise that this fight is not over and we still have work to do to consign these proposals to the scrap heap.

 

“Today we have secured  an important victory for passengers, who ultimately would have borne the cost of excessive annual station pick up licences. However, it represents only a temporary respite, with Network Rail and other station operators determined to squeeze their site users – whether that be retail space tenants, toilet charges, car parking or taxi access.

 

“This fight goes on.”

 

ENDS

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