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Taxi drivers should unite to tackle volunteer issue

By Wells Journal  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

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Letter to taxi operators.

You may be already aware of the growing problems with volunteer drivers who are taking away work that could, should and would be better facilitated by the local taxi companies.

Well this situation is coming to a point where you may feel you need to take a more detailed notice. Now I also acknowledge that some may feel that I am a bit of a busybody but we need to unite together to fight this now intolerable situation.

Should you need any further clarification I am available on the telephone number below.

Facts with respect to Somerset County Council:

There are 241 volunteer drivers covering 3,335,896 miles, with 127 of these drivers are doing more than 10,000 miles each. They are all paid 45p per every mile. This means that 127 of them are in excess of the HM Revenue and Customs guidelines and are therefore running as a business and not a volunteer. Therefore they are in breach of their insurance and licensing laws pertaining to the paid transport of their clients.

All of the involved councils, Mendip, South Somerset, Sedgemoor, West Somerset and Taunton Deane are well aware of this situation and have been for years. Their lack of administrative action has lead to an uneven playing field with regards to pricing of contracted jobs on the @UK system. Leading to a major disadvantage to the legally licensed, insured and regulated, taxi and private hire, operators.

This situation has now been brought to the attention of the Transport Minister, Norman Baker, a number of involved MPs and action has been invoked by this operator with the support of two others.

Legal opinions suggest volunteer drivers are breaking the law by driving without any insurance and in many cases operating in breach of licensing laws.

In addition the HMRC is involved in investigating any breaches in their previously agreed guidelines and I am sure that their finding will become evident soon.

Considerable moneys have been put up by the three instigators of the action and legal advice has detailed that there is a case concerning loss of earnings due to the unfair trading situation.

I suggest that this would be a good time for any other interested party to involve the concerned solicitors as to their own individual or operators' losses of earnings.

Chris Wickham

CJW Taxis and Private Hire

Thomas Way

Glastonbury

Telephone 01458 833106

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