Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cabbies Steer into City Licensing Row; Council Bosses Insisting on Colour Policy

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cabbies Steer into City Licensing Row; Council Bosses Insisting on Colour Policy

Article excerpt

Byline: Neil McKay

CIVIC bosses are on a collision course with taxi drivers in a historic city after insisting on a colour policy and allowing outside cabs to come in for business.

Licensing bosses at Durham County Council say changes to taxi licensing policies will benefit passengers by creating a safer and more efficient service across the county.

But taxi drivers in Durham are opposed to allowing cabbies from outlying areas of the county ply their trade in the city centre.

They have also vowed to fight attempts by the council to impose a white-only policy on city cabs.

Two Cabinet reports detailing consultation with residents and taxi trade members on how Durham County Council can better protect taxi users, while also making things clearer for taxi drivers, are set to be looked at by Cabinet members on Wednesday next week.

Proposals include changes to the way taxis are currently licensed and regulated.

Making taxis easily identifiable by insisting on a white-only colour policy in Durham City was also highlighted as a concern in the findings of the consultation.

But Durham City cabbies also warned of a "free for all" after councillors gave taxis from outlying areas the go-ahead to ply their trade in the city. Adrian Fetts, chairman of the Durham Independent Taxi Association, said: "There is simply not the trade in Durham for any extra taxis. It is only for a couple of hours on Saturday night that it gets busy.

"Since local government re-organisation last year, Durham County Council has been attempting to install a common policy for taxis over the seven former district council zones of Chester-le-Street, Derwentside, Durham City, Easington, Sedgefield, Teesdale and Wear Valley. …

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