Further taxi strikes averted

TAXI drivers staged two strikes in Ipswich at the weekend following a dispute with the council about fare increases - but a further two periods of action have been averted.

TAXI drivers staged two strikes in Ipswich at the weekend following a dispute with the council about fare increases - but a further two periods of action have been averted.

The planned action this week has been called off after officials received reassurances from the borough council that it will look at the issue again.

Drivers meet with the council in December each year to review the amount they can charge, but this year they say the suggested fare rise is too low.

In response, many of the registered Hackney carriage drivers voted in favour of a strike.


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The move left party-goers finding it hard to get taxis during the early hours of Friday and Saturday mornings, but drivers say they chose the hours - between 2am and 6am - to cause as little disruption as possible.

Eric Pearl, secretary of the Ipswich Taxi Drivers Association, said the fare increase that has been awarded was less than drivers had hoped for.

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And he said drivers had been seeking assurances that any suggestion of reducing taxi fares for the next two years would be scrapped.

Mr Pearl said last night: “We had planned four nights of strikes, and held two, with people finding taxis thin on the ground after 2am.

“But real progress has been made with the council and we are moving forward, so there was no point carrying on with the strikes.''

Mr Pearl said taxi drivers were heartened by comments from Ipswich borough councillor Inga Lockington, who holds the transport portfolio, agreeing to look at the issues surrounding fares and the way they are set. Drivers are now hoping to meet with councillors in the New Year.

Mrs Lockington said she was disappointed that drivers had decided to strike, and said the current increase in fares was fixed.

But she said that councillors would be looking again at the issue to see if the way fares were set could be undertaken differently in the future.

John Jacobs, principle transport officer for Ipswich Borough Council, said: “The council has recently given the drivers a 5% fare increase.

“We have said we will discuss this with them next year and it could result in fares decreasing, but it is just a discussion.''

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