Taxi strike: Policy plans explained

Taxi strike: Policy plans explained

Nicola Hine

Taxi strike: Policy plans explained

There are 96 Hackney Carriage licenses - taxis which can be hailed - operating across Maidenhead, Windsor and Ascot.

In comparison there are more than 900 private hire vehicles, which must be pre-booked.

The controversial recommendation being put to councillors suggests the number of Hackney Carriage licenses issued could be increased by five per month as of May 1.

This would amount to a £2,500 increase in license income each month until demand ceases.

Recipients would be chosen through a fair lottery process.

A hike in the fee for a new license has also been put forward.

A survey was conducted in November last year and while it concluded a 'good or very good' service is being provided, customers do experience some difficulties in finding Hackney Carriages.

Further consultations have since taken place with drivers from both sides invited to comment.

Any recommendations on the policy would need to go before the full Windsor and Maidenhead council in April before they could be ratified.

A report on the feedback from the consultation period is due before the council's licensing panel at Maidenhead Town Hall on Monday.

A petition submitted to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead by private hire drivers suggests many are backing the licensing change opposed by Tuesday's protest.

Signed by more than 170 drivers it requests that anyone should be allowed to apply for a Hackney Carriage plate.

The petition suggests increasing the availability of hailable taxis provides the public with more choice over transport, particularly when buses and trains have stopped for the night.

An accompanying letter argues that the demand for widely-attended events such as Royal Ascot cannot be met with just 96 hackney carriages.

It points out that bigger events such as the Olympics are also coming up.

The petition also alleges that the scarcity of hackney plates means they are being rented out or privately sold for sums of up to £60,000.

Department for Transport guidelines also recommend limits on licenses be removed.

From a police perspective Tuesday's demonstration in Maidenhead passed off without incident.

Acting area commander Chief Inspector Dave Gilbert said the high police presence was more to deal with the impact the event would have on traffic than the protestors themselves.

He confirmed no arrests had been made.

Drivers have also been protesting in Windsor today.

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