03:30PM, Friday 14 February 2020
Hackney carriage drivers are angry with the council over a shortage of taxi rank spaces in the Royal Borough.
Representatives said that, after finding that they are unable to find a space, some have pulled up in prohibited spots such as on yellow lines and at loading bays and bus stops, and incurred parking fines.
They complain that spaces for taxis have decreased due to council deregulation, allowing any cab to wait in taxi ranks anywhere within the borough.
Previously, taxis were restricted to one zone in either Maidenhead, Windsor or Ascot.
In a letter to the Royal Borough, Hackney carriage representatives Sultan Jaffri and Mohammed Naeem Sabir wrote: “We have been continuously saying that we need more spaces to accommodate the ever-increasing numbers of vehicles.
“We are professional drivers and we understand the law but we feel that the council needs to be more lenient and show some common sense, instead of bombarding us with policy jargon.
“Above all, we are residents of this town and should be treated as residents. We strongly suggest the council look into this with urgency.”
The issue has been going on for nearly eight years. Constantly full taxi ranks and illegal parking by cab drivers have been points of grievance for residents and taxi drivers since 2012, when the Royal Borough abolished restrictions on the number of taxi drivers allowed in ranks.
“We are being ignored by the council,” said Mr Sabir. “We are very disgruntled with the way we are being treated. It is totally unacceptable.”
Deputy leader of the council, Cllr Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton Wick), said that she has personally never received any correspondence on the issue and she called on the Hackney carriage drivers to write to her directly.
“The council are all about communication. We’re here to serve,” she said.
“We support our taxis – they are so important for tourism and local people – but, of course, they cannot pull up on yellow lines or bus stops. It is unsafe.”
At a licensing panel on Monday, councillors agreed to discuss reinstating some kind of cap on the number of taxi drivers at a future licensing panel meeting.
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