ACTION is being taken by Sandwell Council after more than 200 disgruntled taxi drivers staged a protest outside its council house in Oldbury.

Drivers are unhappy at the length of time they say it is taking the council to issue private hire licenses.

The protest, which saw more than 200 drivers gather outside the council house earlier this month, was organised by Sandwell Private Hire Drivers Association.

Secretary Imran Mahmood Qureshi said: "I was in a meeting where we presented our demands.

"The council agreed to make changes immediately including opening the licensing office five days a week and sending out reminder letters to drivers."

Mr Qureshi said the application process had been taking far too long in Sandwell due to changes which came in during lockdown.

He said: "People are going to drive in Birmingham instead as they issue licences in three to four weeks. Within a month they are on the road, but in Sandwell it's taking months.

"We have heard good things since the protest - that things are starting to improve and are moving forward in a positive way."

Halesowen News:

Sandwell Council said its leader councillor Rajbir Singh met with drivers to "listen to their concerns and has committed to addressing any remaining issues as quickly as possible."

Cllr Singh said: “The past 18 months have been a challenging time, particularly for those in the taxi trade.

“We are listening to the drivers’ concerns and are in the process of implementing a user-friendly software system that will allow drivers to apply, track and make payments and this will bring huge benefits to them.

"The licensing office is now open five days a week for appointments where these are needed to resolve any issues and the ability to be able to pay online will be available imminently.

"Sandwell Council has also reinstated issuing renewal and expiry reminder letters to assist our drivers. In addition we have reviewed how applications are processed and have agreed to contact all applicants within two working days of receiving their applications.

“We are aware of the current concerns of our licensed drivers and we are working to resolve these as quickly as possible.

"We remain committed to providing a good quality service in a safe way for both customers and staff.”