Cabbies close ranks over dress code

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The Independent Online
Clothes may not maketh the man, but they would certainly help driving a taxi in York. However, a strict new dress code issued by a private rail company to the city's cab drivers backfired when the irate cabbies refused to use the station taxi rank in protest.

Under the new arrangement, to come into force by 1998, drivers with station permits must wear smart trousers, have a collar and tie and don "dress shoes" when picking up fares. Those sporting a stubble, would be sent home.

If that was not enough, Great North Eastern Railways, which runs York station, also wants to raise the cost of an annual permit by 30 per cent from pounds 365 to pounds 500.

More than 100 drivers have boycotted the station. A manager at one firm said: "Some of the lads have just gone on strike. I usually have 60 cabs, now I have just 17."

GNER now appears to be backing down. "As long as the drivers agree in principle, then the company is prepared to negotiate on the dress and permit price," said a spokesman. Under the code, drivers would have to cover up tattoos and would not be able to grow a beard while working.