In many towns across the UK local authorities are implementing regulations concerning what colour the taxis in the areas must be in order to improve passenger safety. For example, in Dudley the local council has introduced a new regulation stating that taxi drivers are only allowed to have white vehicles, which has been petitioned against by eighteen hundred drivers and customers.
White vehicles have recently become extremely popular due to their association with luxury and their appearances in popular music videos, meaning that the cost of a white vehicle is now considerably more than one of an alternative colour. The scheme was introduced back in 2006 in order to make licenced vehicles easily identifiable for local residents, however the fact that they cost more means that taxi drivers either have to pay the costs or increase their fares.
Many taxi drivers are claiming that white cars are so expensive that some have even had to resort to re-spraying their old vehicles, which can also cost a considerable amount. Dudley Private Hire and Taxi Association have therefore called for the local council to consider allowing licenced vehicles to be of another colour such as silver or grey. Shaz Saleem, Managing director of Beacon Taxis which is based in Sedgley said: “The fact that drivers have come together and asked for this is something the council should take into account as this is not just one or two people coming out, this is everyone united. All we want is a common sense approach and a fair hearing for our views.”
Mr Saleem, who is also chairman of the Dudley Driver Watch safety scheme in conjunction with the West Midlands police, also said that by allowing drivers to choose cheaper colour options they would be able to spend less on taxi insurance policies and would prevent drivers trying to bypass the rules by registering with neighbouring authorities such as Sandwell and Wolverhampton.
However, the director of corporate resources for Dudley Council, Philip Tart defended the colour regulation and said: “Over the years there have been several serious incidents involving passengers being sexually assaulted, injured and other criminal offences where the police have been able to identify the vehicle as a Dudley licenced vehicle by colour.” He went on to state that whilst manufacturers such as Ford and Peugeot do sell white vehicles for around £450 more, others such as Toyota charge no extra cost.