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Newton Abbot taxi drivers demand meeting with boss who 'couldn't find locals to do job'

By Herald Express  |  Posted: February 16, 2013

ANGRY: From left, taxi drivers Dave Cowling, Mike Harris and Teddy Resseguier Torquil MacLeod TQTM20130212E-001_C

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TAXI drivers in Teignbridge are on the war path after a cab firm boss claimed he was forced to employ foreign staff because he couldn't find locals willing to do the job.

Daniel Hooper, managing director of Newton Abbot-based Teignbridge Taxis, revealed he has recruited 15 drivers from Romania.

He has said he had to bring in drivers from Europe because 'the majority of drivers we've come across locally didn't seem to want to work the anti-social hours or put themselves out for the customer'.

But the Teignbridge Taxi and Private Hire Association, which has 119 members, has hit back and is calling for a face-to-face meeting with Mr Hooper.

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The association said in a statement: "We feel very strongly concerning the comments made by Mr Hooper.

"Companies within the Teignbridge area do not have a problem recruiting drivers, existing drivers do go the extra mile and work unsociable hours, contrary to his comments.

"As a direct result of his comments, existing drivers are very angry and feel the main reason for employing the Romanian drivers is for his financial benefit — they will work for less money."

The association claimed Mr Hooper was in favour of deregulation in the taxi industry which it says caused in excess of 250 licensed vehicles to be on the road.

The association claimed: "Mr Hooper is now suffering the consequences, along with our members, so we feel Mr Hooper should shoulder the responsibilities of his former actions and try to find solutions for the benefit of the trade as a whole and not alienate himself, his company and his drivers from the rest of the trade.

"We would like to propose a face-to-face meeting with Mr Hooper to discuss what is happening within the trade not just within his company."

Association secretary David Williams said: "There's only one cake and if there are more drivers, the slices get smaller.

"It doesn't do the trade any good to say we can't get drivers."

Independent taxi driver Dave Cowling, 51, who has been doing the job for 23 years, said the situation began with deregulation.

He said: "Over the last six years we've had a massive influx of Hackney carriages. This drastically cut the incomes of taxi drivers in Teignbridge."

Mr Hooper told the Herald Express he would be happy to have a face to face meeting or phone call with association chairman John Partridge but he was unwilling to attend an association meeting.

"I'm not going to be summoned before people to discuss my business. I haven't done anything wrong," he said. "But I'm willing to talk to Mr Partridge and try to settle issues he has obviously got."

He said just this week he had to turn work away and he had customers waiting up to an hour for a taxi. Mr Hooper said foreign workers were also paid the same. He also denied he had been in favour of deregulation and was just asking the council for 'half a dozen Hackney plates for my drivers'.

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  • Patty1  |  March 15 2013, 9:24PM

    Really, I am not from the taxi profession, but have you people nothing better to do that stab each other in the back in an attempt to reduce each other's income. From an outsider looking in, if you we're all to be lined up and asked how much income tax you pay - I think the answer maybe "zero" from a very high percentage of you? What has that got to do with these issues? Well, maybe no one wants to work where their income could be accounted for. The same question could be asked about claiming tax credits? The same question could also be asked about declaration of tips against income, and qualification for credits. Perhaps, my advice as a tax payer is that you should all get on with your activity of enjoying keeping all your income and putting zero back while it lasts!

    |   1
  • Dash Taxis  |  March 12 2013, 11:21PM

    They should call dash taxis on 247247. Best service in town

  • robocop1982  |  February 16 2013, 6:27PM

    they should install gps trackers on every car by law and have that gps data linked to dvla so if they break the limit they can be traced immediatly and have it electronically limiter enabled to slow them down.

    |   -5
  • robocop1982  |  February 16 2013, 6:23PM

    taxi drivers are being caught out more now for breaking the speed limit to increase there fares profit with the under cover police patrol cars. THe police are really getting sneaky and now use under cover patrol cars.

    |   -3
  • Othursty1  |  February 16 2013, 8:52AM

    Seriously? I won't ever be using a Teignbridge Taxis cab - have you seen how they drive in Romania???? I mean I understand that Daniel Hooper wants to maintain the standard we have all come to put up with from taxi drivers (i.e. prepare to have your car smashed to peices if you observe the road rules when a taxi is around you when you're driving, expect to be run over if you are a padestrian, be ready to assum the 'brace brace' position at any moment if you are a taxi passenger) - but this takes things to a new level!!!!

    |   6
  • Ned_Fl4nders  |  February 15 2013, 4:57PM

    Maybe they smuggling horse meat in as well, damn romanians.

    |   5
  • EdnaFruitcake  |  February 15 2013, 11:12AM

    Yes, we don't want jobs taking off local scoucers, brummies and jocks and giving to Romanians who are willing to work do we. This is all about how much a taxi driver can charge you for driving a few miles. Support the cartel of current taxi drivers and pay more, or get a cheape ride. I vote cheaper ride, c'mon it's probably the most unskilled job there is.

    |   -28
  • vulcan  |  February 15 2013, 8:12AM

    You may not have done anything wrong Mr. Hooper but I suspect the public will decide by using a different firm to yours

    |   23