Belfast Telegraph

Belfast taxi drivers tell of 'victimisation' fear

By Linda Stewart

Public hire taxi drivers in Belfast fear they are being victimised after traffic wardens were instructed to clamp down on unattended vehicles in taxi ranks.

They say they have been told that anyone who leaves their taxi unattended in a rank will be ticketed.

Kieran Reilly of Belfast Public Hire Taxi Drivers said they had been given the heads-up by one of the "redcoats". "We acknowledge that they have a job to do, but we've been told that the redcoats are to start ticketing drivers who leave cars unattended in public hire ranks," he said.

"There's no toilet for the boys to go to - there's no facilities in the city centre and they're having to use public amenities like bars and restaurants. People now feel they are being victimised because we are putting pressure on the department to give us more ranks."

Taxi drivers are doing shifts of up to 12 hours with no toilet facilities and there is also no lost and found office for anything left in a public hire taxi, he said.

A DRD spokesperson said: "Long-standing legislation governing public hire taxis requires taxi drivers to remain with their vehicle when using a rank to ply for trade. Traffic attendants will take enforcement action against any vehicle found to be in contravention of parking restrictions."

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