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Manchester taxi trade to fight Council’s “unfair restriction” of trade at airport

LEGAL taxi trade specialists Howards & Henry’s Solicitors will be representing the Manchester Cab Committee in its bid to lift alleged restrictions of trade at Manchester Airport.

Peter Eatherall, taxi law partner at Howards, will be representing the Committee’s fight to fully open up business to the trade at the airport.

The Manchester taxi trade has taken issue with the Council for giving Arrow Cars preferential treatment in its dealing with the airport and its passengers.  This has effectively shut out competition, according to the Committee.

The Manchester Cab Committee brings wide support and is made up of the GMB Union, Taxi Owners and Drivers Association, Airport Taxi Association, Mantax and Taxifone.

The complaints focus on Manchester Airport’s website booking facility for taxis, as well as its booking kiosks in the three main terminals, which are devoted to Arrow Cars at the expense of rivals.  There are also objections from the trade regarding Arrow Cars’ unlawful ranking activities.

The Committee now has barrister’s advice and representation through Howards & Henry’s Solicitors, with a possible judicial review to follow to determine the law on this matter.

Sean Kenny, chairman of the Manchester Cab Committee, comments: “We have no problem with competition.  We do take issue though when a private hire office opens next to the taxi rank and misleads customers by calling themselves “Taxi Private Hire.”  In addition it has vehicles illegally ranking and what can be consider unbalanced promotion by Manchester Airport.  Then, it’s not fair or acceptable.”

Kenny also points out: “Manchester City Council compels all Hackney Carriages to meet a rigorous set of standards concerning issues such as driver knowledge and wheelchair accessibility at some considerable cost.  Private hire do not have to meet the same high standards, including licence fees, yet are being given the opportunity of immediate hirings.  This opens up another issue of fairness in the eyes of many in the trade.”

Eatherall, who has direct experience of running his own taxi firm before migrating his knowledge to law, comments: “The Council do not feel there are any issues that need to be radically addressed, but many, many voices within the trade in Manchester strongly believe that there are.”

“We have tried to resolve what we think are sound grievances through dialogue with the licensing and legal departments of the Council.  We have not received a constructive response.  The Manchester Cab Committee has been left with no other choice to resolve the matter other than through legal recourse.”