Norwich’s taxi marshal scheme in Tombland is the first self-supporting scheme in the country and should be the last as its not needed here according to many drivers including one of Norwich’s finest Tommy Gotts ( pictured ) ” We’ve managed for decades without Marshals, its a total waste of time & as for the ticket machine? asking people to pay a pound to get in a taxi! that’s a total rip-off ” Tommy added.
”Our customers will be asked to pay £1 per cab into a ticket machine in Tombland to use the service, maybe we should have another one in our cab saying tip box! Whoever thought up these ideas must be living in cuckoo land. We don’t want the marshals or the ticket machine full stop.”
The taxi marshal scheme, which costs £20,000 a year, started two years ago and was funded until December last year by local businesses, the Safer Neighbourhood partnership, Norfolk Constabulary, Norwich City Council, and, latterly, the Norwich Night safe Partnership fund, but taxi drivers were never consulted as to do we actually need it. But public money for the scheme ran out and organiser’s want taxi customers to pay for the service by making a £1 voluntary contribution per cab journey, yeah right! Customers can then get their money refunded by showing a valid pay and display ticket to a participating venue of which I’m sure they won’t bother with.
Tommy has gained legendary status within taxi fraternity over the past 30 years, known & respected by many went on to say ”Julian Foster, chairman of the Central Norwich Citizens’ Forum, which is one of the partners behind the scheme, knows nothing about taxis, in fact I don’t mind saying I dislike him, hes been a thorn in our side for many years & does nothing but harm our trade.”
Marshals work at the Tombland rank, which is mainly used by clubbers, between 10pm and 3am on Friday and Saturday nights, but last Saturday they went home early as they did Friday night. Over 1000 people in Norwich use the taxi rank every weekend, reports claim violent crime and anti-social behaviour in the city centre have fallen year on year since the introduction of the scheme, and the marshals also provide a secure radio link to the police and CCTV and can help hackney carriage drivers in dealing with intoxicated, violent and aggressive people, which is a total lie as one of our drivers had a problem with abusive drunks last year & the marshals did nothing but watch.
Tommy added ”hackney drivers want to make it clear to the public that we would continue to pick up customers from the Tombland rank irrespective of whether they had paid the £1 or not & went further by actively discouraging the purchase of a ticket. We (taxi drivers) have been treated disgustingly for far too long in Norwich by the council, the problems in Norwich would never happen in other parts of the country. I’ve got the bit between my teeth this time!”
Until next time~ lets be safe out there!
Your taxi news for Norwich commentator.