Luton cab drivers gathered outside the Town Hall yesterday to protest against Luton Borough Council’s “unfair and biased policies” towards outside companies.
Luton Hackney Carriage Association and Luton Borough Drivers Union were outside Luton Town Hall from 10am.
In a joint statement, the groups claim that Uber is using London (PCO) licensed cars in Luton which “should not be visible on Uber app in Luton.”
They also claim that Addison Lee has used PCO drivers at the airport. They stated: “We have no objection to lawful operations of UBER or Addison Lee in Luton but LBC, through inaction, are favouring large foreign controlled companies like Addison Lee and Uber who do not contribute anything towards the Luton economy.”
Mushtaq Ahmed, chairman of Luton Borough Drivers Union, said: “When Uber drivers from London drop off in Luton, on the app it shows they are available for a pick up in Luton, we are saying the app should not show they are available for a pick up because if a Luton driver goes to London with a taxi light on to pick up, it is wrong, so if we can’t do it, why are they allowed to?
“We are losing trade, it is one rule for them and one rule for us, we want Luton jobs for Luton drivers.”
Azar Baig, chairman of Luton Hackney Carriage Association, spoke at the protest, he said: “Drivers from London are taking out money out of Luton, we are local tax payers, we are the local drivers, we are the people who support Luton Borough Council and the local public, we do not want outside people operating in Luton.
“We demand from our council to stop illegal cross bordering which is taking place by Addison Lee and Uber.
“Our local council is not thinking about us, over 2000 drivers who are suffering at the moment, financially, and we need local support.
“We are here to express our views and let the people know what this council is about.”
They apologised to the public for the disruption in service yesterday morning.
A LBC spokesman said: “Luton Borough Council has a history of working with the drivers and is disappointed that they feel the need to protest.
“We are always willing to listen to complaints or issues raised by licence holders but we do dispute some of the claims made by the Luton Hackney Carriage Association and Luton Borough Drivers Union.
“The role of the Council’s licensing service is about protecting and safeguarding the public.
“This means that we need to ensure that vehicles are safe and that drivers and operators are fit and proper. This safeguarding and public protection role underpins all of our work.”