From 1st September 2011, Durham County Council deregulated the taxi trade, which allowed unlimited numbers of cabbies to operate in the city centre, despite the warning from cabbies’ leaders that it would result in chaos.
The residents in Claypath, Durham, have said that their lives are being ruined by cabs queuing in the early house of the day.
Now the situation will be even worse over Christmas, warns a taxi boss.
When cabbies from outside areas were given freedom to ply their trade alongside the city cabbies after deregulation, the city’s taxi driver warned of a “free-for-all”.
Chairman of Durham Independent Taxi Driver’s Association, Adrian Fets, said “We said that allowing a free-for-all into the city centre would be a disaster and we have been proved right. There are far too many taxis coming into Durham City from outlying areas which is causing gridlock. The county council has created a monster and it will get worse over the Christmas period. We get taxis into Durham from places like Peterlee, Easington, Stanley and Bishop Auckland.
“These outsiders think there is money to be made in Durham, but the truth is that they have to hang around for two hours to get a single fare. But the extra influx creates queues which are unacceptable to residents, and nobody can blame them.
“Who wants taxis parked outside their homes at midnight? The council has created this monster and doesn’t know what to do.
“At weekends taxis queue from Claypath right up to Hild and Bede College, and it will be worse over the next three weekends.”
Last Month, Joanne Waller, the county council’s head of environment, health and consumer protection, said that she hoped the introduction of mobile CCTV would help solve some of the problems.
Waller said, “While the deregulation has certainly solved some previous problems including people having to wait for long periods for a taxi in Durham City and instances of anti-social behaviour, there is more work to do in this area.”
Deregulation is also affecting the cabbie’s income as there is more competition from other taxi drivers, which certainly doesn’t help alongside the increased cost of fuel, private hire taxi insurance and service costs.
Corporate director for neighbourhood services, Terry Collins said, “The council and the police are continuing to work together to monitor the impact of the changes, which should have a positive effect on people visiting our city during this busy time. We hope these changes will help taxi users to leave the city centre with greater ease.”