09:44AM, Tuesday 07 May 2013
Last year the Royal Borough eased restrictions by allowing a maximum of five new licences a month, outraging existing taxi drivers who stormed out of a council meeting swearing at startled councillors.
But at a meeting of the authority's Licensing Panel on Monday last week councillors voted to remove restrictions altogether.
They felt that the earlier increase in licences had led to a drop in crime and disorder by making more taxis available to take late night revellers home.
Cllr Carwyn Cox, cabinet member for environmental services, said that the Royal Borough was now in a minority of local authorities that still practised some form of restriction.
He said: “Anyone who wishes to engage in this trade who meets our strict safety requirements should be able to do so.“
The Royal Borough already plans to increase spaces at taxi ranks in Maidenhead at Grove Road, Shoppenhangers Road, King Street, Queen Street and Nicholsons Lane.
More are being looked at for Maidenhead town centre and for Ascot High Street.
The change does not mean that anyone will be able to take a taxi out though. The license application fee of £500 covers a wide range of requirements, including a medical examination and vehicle safety checks. It also ensures that drivers have ‘the knowledge’ of local streets and journeys.
Cllr Andrew Jenner, chairman of the licensing panel, added: “Passengers using a council-licensed and liveried hackney carriage are assured they are getting into a vehicle which has been checked out thoroughly and with a licensed driver.”