TAXI drivers across Newport gathered to hold a “go-slow” protest in the city yesterday.

Hackney cab drivers are angry at the lack of ranks available to them in the city, and Unite, the union representing them, says their “complaints have fallen on deaf ears.”

As a result of their frustration with the council, drivers organised a protest taking them from Newport Railway Station, along the Kingsway to Friars Walk, back up to Queensway, and then around the Civic Centre.

And Unite warned that if a resolution to their concerns cannot be found in the next few weeks “they will want to express their frustrations again”.

The drivers’ complaints centre on reduced cab space in Upper Dock Street and Corn Street.

Imran Badat, a taxi driver in Newport, said: “We have not been given enough Hackney ranks in Newport city centre.

“What we have been given is not enough.”

The drivers want the Corn Street rank to be extended, a night rank on Bridge Street and Cambrian Road, a night rank on Queensway, and a rank at the railway station.

Alan McCarthy, from Unite, said: “We have had an association with the local authority for communication purposes for years, and the drivers have tried to discuss the removal of some of the rank spaces, talking about Corn Street and Upper Dock Street in particular.

“They used to have a 25-car capacity up there, and it is down to six now.

“Given that there is probably a narrow window for taxi drivers to recoup the losses they have incurred throughout the pandemic, we really need to be making sure that they are maximising their ability to make a living, hackneys right now in particular.

“Attempts to have a dialogue to say give us back our rank have fallen on deaf ears.”

Mr McCarthy said the protest was a sign of the frustration felt among the drivers, and he warned that more could follow.

He added: “We are really keen to get the attention of the local authority.

“Most demonstrations arise from frustration, saying we are here we want to talk about our needs.

“The drivers feel they have no alternative now.

“If they can’t get that resolution in the next few weeks I’m sure they will want to express their frustrations again.

“It seems as though the dialogue, that at one time was constructive, has fallen short.

“They need to take into account the hackney trade is a trade, people rely on it to feed their families and pay their rent.”