SCORES of local cabbies are struggling to find fares following the loss of a vital contract at Birmingham Airport.
Irfaan Ahmed, chairman of the Birmingham and Solihull Taxi Association (BASTA), has said that the livelihoods of many veteran drivers have been taken away.
Earlier this year, the association lost the contract to a competitor- Passenger Transport Solutions. Members had mounted a legal challenge but last month but the courts upheld the airport’s decision.
This week Mr Ahmed explained that drivers were unable to sign up with PTS to work at the airport.
“There’s not enough ranks in Solihull,” he said. “Drivers can go to the station, the town centre and the airport - that’s it. We’ve got experienced people who have worked at the airport for ten or 12 years and now they can’t.
“We feel there should be more drivers able to use the airport. If taxis go the airport and the ranks are full then that’s fine - they would go somewhere else. But they should at least have the option to try and they don’t even have that at the moment.”
But an airport spokeswoman said this week that they already had the maximum number of drivers.
“We’ve got 300 drivers working at the airport and there are a further 175 on the waiting list. The number is enough for the business but as soon as business increases we will take on more.”
The dearth of local ranks was one of the issues raised during a recent protest at Monkspath Hall Road car park. Gavin Morris, the council’s licensing officer, said that Solihull Council would look into the issue.
Mr Ahmed said the association would consider a fresh demonstration in the future.