A CABBIE is calling for a clampdown on taxi drivers illegally touting for work outside a popular nightspot.
Peter Rose, 50, secretary of the UNITE union, wants a taxi rank to be established near
Funky Mojoe in High Road, South Woodford, which he says is a known hot spot for drivers breaking laws designed to protect the public.
He believes the rank would deter unlicensed cabs from parking near the club.
All minicabs must be pre-booked under current regulations, but Mr Rose claims drivers are regularly approaching revellers in the street and not enough is being done to enforce the rules.
He said: “The” licensing laws are there for a reason for the safety of the public;
“The danger of people getting into these unlicensed cabs is that the journeys are not being recorded, so if people get into trouble it is harder to track. “This is putting people at risk and it is particularly dangerous for females.”
A Transport for London official visited the area earlier this month and was approached twice by drivers touting for business, leading to the area being made a priority.
Police patrols in the area late at night were stepped up, but Mr Rose claims the situation has not improved.
Redbridge Radio Cars has five offices in the area. Manager Maggie Whitham said: “These touts are a major problem. They are so blatant about it. “They come right up to the clubs and take the fares.
Colin Salmon, 47, of Brunswick Gardens, South Woodford, has been a black cab driver for 14 years. He said: “I don’t think we will ever get rid of them.
The problem is widespread. “TfL do a good job in going out and giving them fines but as soon as their officers leave the illegal mini cabs are back again.”
TfL’s Helen Chapman said: “TfL and the Metropolitan Police Safer Transport Command are aware of touting issues in the South Woodford area. “Work is ongoing to develop long-term solutions to deal with the touting in the, area and help minimise risks to the travelling public posed by touts.
“TfL’s Taxi& Private Hire team is keen to work with Redbridge Council to developlong-term strategies for tackling touting and ensuring passengers have safe, late night travel options.”
Click here to read more about the problems in South Woodford.
Click here to go to the Guardian website.