TAXI DRIVERS in Epping have accused the authorities of turning a blind eye to illegal drivers and touting hackney cabbies who steal customers from outside the Club 195 in Cottis Lane.
Azid Famu, spokesman for the Taxi Drivers’ Association in Epping Forest, said” “On the weekends, it’s like a jungle outside the club. There are always unlicensed cabs turning up and some taxi drivers are even behaving like touts. Rather than sit in their vehicle and wait for customers, they get out and start crowding round the passengers asking if they want a cab.
“If the council put in a rank, drivers would have to become more orderly and passengers would be dealt with on a first come first served basis.”
Taxi driver, Abdullah Al-Mamun, agreed and said that he would also like to see a police presence outside the club.
“At the moment, there are hardly any police around. Both licensed and unlicensed drivers park their cars illegally, blocking the one way street. I have also been pushed by drunken customers.
There are often five or six drivers competing for two customers, trying to offer the best deal.
It’s not good for the hackney cabs though, as it just looks like touting.”
One cabbie was run over last month after a row with an unlicensed driver and left with injuries to his neck and arm. But so far, no arrests have been made.
Police inspector Andy Fucher said: “We discussed the option of the CCTV van with the taxi drivers but the van is currently in use in other areas.
“Unfortunately, I cannot put officers outside every pub or club in Epping, we simply don’t have the resources. However, we will continue to work with the taxi drivers on the issue.”
A spokesman for Epping Forest District Council said: “The responsibility for making taxi ranks lies with Essex County Council and requests have been made to them to provide adequate ranks. But they are yet to be accommodated.”