Private hire drivers have gathered to protest outside Southampton City Council’s headquarters to protest the Council’s decision regarding door signage policy.

Southampton City Council decided that it would keep its current door signage policy, forcing drivers to keep the names of operators on their doors. However, several private hire drivers object to this as they say it prevents them from working for multiple operators.

The Council had rejected a proposal from private hire drivers to have a choice from two signs: one with the operators’ name on it and one with the private hire license details. Operators’ names would not have been removed completely but instead a second sign would have been added, giving private hire drivers the right to carry out work for multiple operators in practice.

Prior to this decision, a Council consultation found that only 34% of the trade wanted to keep the current sign policy, whilst 64% disagreed with it.

Private hire driver Ali Haydor said regarding the protest that “Our demand is simple, remove the restraint on how we trade or give us workers status”.

Responding to Mr Haydor, the Council said: A Southampton City Council spokesperson said: “This matter was consulted on, researched, presented and a democratic decision made. It was debated at a recent Licensing Committee meeting, where we welcomed a number of speakers to share their views. After reviewing all the representations, members decided that vehicles should continue to display Southampton City Council livery – something that’s been in place for 20 years – so that taxi drivers and users can have confidence in the licensing and safety of this mode of public transport.

If individuals feel they have further concerns, there is a method of appeal for licence conditions.”