A taxi firm insists it will be ‘business as normal’ despite more than 100 private hire drivers going on strike following a row over cash.
The drivers said they were angry over a new ‘pay as you go’ payment system that will see them have to pay a set fee of £1.60 to Bounds Taxis for every job the firm sends to them on.
They will also have to give up 25 per cent of any fare on journeys over 30 miles. Previously, drivers paid a flat fee of up to £165 per week to Bounds. Between 120 and 140 drivers have gone on strike in the dispute.
The strike started on Monday and the Chronicle & Echo understands it is not close to being resolved.
The firm currently has around half the number of cars it usually has on the road.
William Pugh, general manager, said: “We would say about 70 per cent of the drivers will be better off under this system, but they want to go back to the old system for their own reasons.”
He added: “When private hire first came about, this was the system we had in place and we are going back to it. We still have cabs on the road, we are covering the work, but we are running a bit later than usual.
“But by this time next week we will be back to normal.”
Drivers have claimed they are worse off because of the new system.
One driver said he would charge £70 for a journey to Heathrow Airport and under the new system he would have to pay Bounds £17.50.
He claims once fuel and vehicle maintenance is deducted, drivers would be “lucky to be left with anything”.
The drivers also claim the £1.60 levy could also hit their profits, as local fares often reach as little as £2 to £3.
One told the Chron: “There are 140 to 150 drivers not willing to pay this silly money.
“My rent was £122.50 per week and now in the first week of these new rates I paid £189.92, so it has gone up by £65.42. It is crazy, you can’t earn anything.
“People are very angry. We are being killed financially.”