Dartford taxi driver brands council's Grabbacab scheme 'unfair'

Roger Clarke, aged 67, has been campaigning against Grabbacab for eight years.

Mr Clarke has branded the scheme 'unfair'.

First published in News
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A Dartford taxi driver is determined to persevere in his eight-year campaign against Dartford Council's "unfair"  Grabbacab scheme.

Roger Clarke, aged 67 - owner of Clarke Taxis and private hire firm, Bridge Cars, based on Colney Road - is once-again voicing complaints about the scheme to the council, Kent Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Mr Clarke, of Teesdale Drive, who has been driving taxis in the town for 25 years, says the scheme allows private taxis to park up on streets and pick up unbooked clients - a practice reserved for Hackney carriages only.

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Mr Clarke said: "It’s really unfair. Private taxis have to be away at their base so they can’t be seen in the street. They’re not allowed to do it.

"I can remember back to a time when in Dartford alone there were 140 to 150 Hackney Carriage drivers and about 40 to 50 private hire drivers, now it’s the other way round.

"Only one company are allowed to use the Grabbacab scheme."

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The scheme allows revellers to pick up taxis from Market Street, Dartford, on Friday and Saturday nights.

A council spokesman said: "The council is well aware of Mr Clarke's long-standing views about Grabbacab and has had regular contact with him.

"However, since it launched in 2006, Grabbacab has hugely improved passenger and driver safety and reduced anti-social behaviour through the use of a single supervised pick-up point for cabs.

"It is popular with local pubs and clubs, popular with the police and most important of all popular with taxi-users - some of whom have told us it contributes to their feeling of safety and enjoyment after a night out.

"Grabbacab is open to both private hire companies and Hackney Carriages. The scheme is continually reviewed by the council and its partners to ensure it is operating well and within guidelines."

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