Welwyn Hatfield cabbie of 42 years to retire from ‘dying’ industry
PUBLISHED: 14:53 07 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:08 07 March 2017
One of Welwyn Hatfield’s longest-serving cab drivers will retire early because of soaring prices in the “dying” industry.
David Brown, 65, has been picking up punters for 42 years, but has decided to quit the trade as he claims it is no longer financially worth it.
He said that rising borough council charges – including plate renewals, badges, medicals and safety checks – coupled with drivers from outside the area operating in Welwyn Hatfield are pulverising the industry.
“The trade is definitely dying,” he told the WHT. “It’s sad to see.
“I was thinking I have still got two years left and could do a bit of part-time, but when you sit and work it out, it’s just not feasible for me to carry on because the prices are so expensive.”
More than 40 local drivers will launch a mass demonstration against its laws outside the council’s offices later this month, and will also start a petition urging drivers from other areas to be banned.
“I’m glad I have come to the end of it to be honest,” David said. “Drivers now have got to do a lot more hours to earn what we used to earn years ago.”
The father-of-four added: “Evening trade has really died a death because people find it cheaper to entertain themselves at home.
“We used to be rushed off our feet with people going to the pub or clubbing, but not anymore.”
Despite the industry “deteriorating”, Widford Road resident David looks back fondly on his time – and said he will miss picking up some of the older regulars.
Welwyn Hatfield Council only regulates hackney cabs that are licenced in the borough.
A council spokesman said: “Taxi law has changed, allowing vehicles licensed by other authorities to carry out job bookings in the borough – as long as it’s passed to them by a Welwyn Hatfield licensed operator.
“We continually monitor who is working in Welwyn Hatfield through investigations and enforcement, successfully prosecuting a driver unlawfully operating in the borough last year.
“Public safety remains our top priority and we will continue working with operators, drivers, neighbouring authorities and local people to ensure we can take action against anyone not complying with the law.”
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