Leeds Private Hire Drivers Organisation (LPHDO) will host a demonstration between 4pm to 6pm on Friday, March 18, as they continue to protest against the Suitability and Convictions Policy.
The policy means that a driver receives 6 penalty points in a year they will receive a three year suspension, the council says it will improve passenger safety, but drivers have said that it is draconian and disproportionate.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Resources said:
The council has received information regarding a private hire driver demonstration across West Yorkshire this Friday 18 March. The demonstration will be a go-slow drive through the region’s city centres between 4pm and 6pm. We expect there to be disruption and delays caused by the demonstration and would advise everyone to avoid travelling during this time if possible.
The drivers are protesting against the Suitability and Convictions Policy which was introduced across West Yorkshire in 2019/20, following a region-wide consultation on the policy which was based on the national template developed by UK legal experts and endorsed by the Department for Transport.
The taxi and private hire licensing trade raised some concerns regarding the proposals for how minor motoring convictions such as speeding would be considered, and councillors in Leeds agreed to pause the implementation of that part of the suitability policy to review the proposals and agree a further period of consultation. The results of the consultation are currently being analysed with a final decision due to be made later this year.
Throughout the consultation, the council has met with trade representatives to listen to their views and ensure they are kept informed of progress. A working group of councillors and trade representatives has been arranged to continue to discuss the Convictions and Suitability Policy and other matters of concern to the taxi and private hire trade. We are pleased to say some significant progress has been made recently.
The council is disappointed that members of the Leeds Private Hire Drivers Organisation have now decided to take this action which has the potential to cause unnecessary disruption to people travelling on Friday evening. The council would ask LPHDO to call off the action and return to meaningful discussions as part of the new working group.
The council is committed to consultation at all levels and will always be prepared to listen and reply to any areas of concern raised by the trade in a constructive manner.