photo: Leeds Socialist Party

photo: Leeds Socialist Party

Kevin Pattison, Chair, Leeds and Wakefield Unite Community branch and Leeds Socialist Party

Over 50 taxi drivers protested in Leeds on 10 November, against proposals by Network Rail and West Yorkshire combined authority to relocate the hackney carriage taxi rank to a space beneath the station.

This is the third protest which was again supported by Leeds and Wakefield Unite Community, the Unite region and the Socialist Party.

The campaign is also supported by Leeds Access Use-Ability Group, a disabled-led campaign group who believe it will discriminate against disabled people and others.

A recent survey by Unite showed that 70% of station users want the rank to remain at ground level.

One of the taxi drivers’ leaders who spoke, said they were very disappointed that Leeds City Council had not sided with the drivers and represented their views to Network Rail. The proposal would rely on an external lift or steps to reach the new taxi rank under the railway line and no longer adjacent to the well-lit entrance.

The external lift at the other end of the station has been out of action in the past. The space under the station, being enclosed, will trap exhaust fumes, polluting the air for taxi drivers and passengers.

Too often decisions are made with only token, box-ticking consultation. Labour councillors should engage constructively with trade unions and not blindly follow the out-of-touch decisions of Network Rail.