Leeds Drivers Stage Go Slow Protest
Private hire drivers in Leeds staged a three hour protest on Monday morning, bringing rush hour traffic to a crawl.
Leeds Private Hire Drivers Organisation (LPHDO) organised the protest - which took place between 7AM – 10AM on the city’s inner ring road - as a last resort encourage Leeds Council and West Yorkshire Police to listen to issues raised by cabbies working within the region.
These include fears that mandatory stickers are causing vehicles to be the target of vandalism, with drivers in some areas of the city reporting being targeted by anti-social groups throwing stones.
Concerns have also been raised about fines issued when dropping off and picking up customers on bus markings, with drivers arguing that they should be able to use bus lanes within the city centre.
More than 100 drivers took part in the protest, with LPHDO chairman Aziz Afzal urging cabbies to “drive within the constraints of the law” make themselves heard in the “most professional manner" they could.
In response to the protest, Chief Inspector Nick Ireland said: “We previously held discussions with the drivers who stated it was their intention to drive slowly in traffic at 15mph. The police will always facilitate peaceful and lawful demonstrations, and a policing operation, including the use of specialist police motorcyclists, was in place with the aim of allowing the protesters to make their point while keeping disruption to the public to a minimum.”
“We will be continuing to liaise with the group around any further demonstrations and will ensure that suitable measures are in place, although we recognise that protests of this type during peak traffic times will always cause disruption.”
“One of the issues that drivers are highlighting has been around stone throwing and other similar crime and anti-social behaviour affecting them and their business. Incidents like this are completely unacceptable and we are working with the drivers and our partner agencies to put long-term problem-solving measures in place to tackle the issue.”