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Minicab drivers celebrate red route victory

PUBLISHED: 12:04 11 May 2007 | UPDATED: 08:53 21 July 2010

MINICAB drivers were celebrating this week after they were given the go-ahead to drop passengers off on red routes without being fined...

MINICAB drivers were celebrating this week after they were given the go-ahead to drop passengers off on red routes without being fined.

Drivers throughout Hackney have been campaigning for months after hundreds of pounds worth of fines threatened to ruin their livelihoods.

They have been told by Transport for London (Tfl) that from this summer they can stop and drop off passengers on red routes without fear of receiving a fine.

Victor Humes, 71, who has been a minicab driver for 20 years and works at Station Cars in Dalston Lane, spearheaded the campaign to get minicab drivers the same rights as their black cabs counterparts.

His protests included leading a convoy from Hackney to City Hall in December to rally against TfL, who issue the fines.

He even went on a three-day hunger strike after receiving a fine for dropping off a blind customer on a red route.

"I'm quite happy with what we've achieved and what they are allowing us to do now, but there's still one thing left to be done and that's to let us travel in the bus lanes, like black cabs," he said.

"We should get all the same rights as a black cab because we serve the public as well."

Victor, who works part-time to supplement his pension, says he will not be paying his outstanding fines of £700.

"I am refusing to pay them because it is part of my duty to drop customers off where they want to be dropped off," he said. "The blind and elderly are my main customers because most drivers don't have the patience."

Red routes are operating on several of Hackney's busiest roads and rules were imposed to stop drivers causing traffic jams.

A Tfl spokeswoman confirmed that the changes would take place later this year after the necessary legal processes had been completed and private hire vehicles would be asked to display signs on the front and rear of their vehicles to distinguish them from ordinary drivers.

FOR THE FULL STORY SEE THIS WEEK'S GAZETTE AVAILABLE NOW.

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