Taxi drivers in Newcastle are concerned over their businesses because Councillors have voted to deregulate the amount of Hackney carriages that are on the roads.
This means that the Council are no longer allowed to regulate the amount of taxi licences it issues. This is the same as many other Councils including the Stoke-on-Trent Authority.
Those who voted for this change feel that this means there will be less anti-social behaviour in the town on a Friday and Saturday evening when members of the public are waiting for a taxi to take them home. However, those who are part of the Newcastle Hackney Carriage Association has said that the current limit, which stands at 51, is essential in protecting their jobs.
As a result many fear that there will not be enough work for all the drivers. Less work means many will struggle to pay for the ever increasing cost of fuel, servicing their vehicles and paying for taxi insurance.
The secretary of Newcastle Hackney Carriage Association, Teresa Jones has said, “I’m totally disgusted at this decision. It’s going to leave to a very bad situation in Newcastle.
“All those applications for Hackney carriage licences are coming from private hire companies. As soon as they get them they will be selling them off.
“This is going to have a devastating effect on the current Hackney carriage drivers.
“The situation in Newcastle on Fridays and Saturdays is the same as in any town or city in the country. But in Newcastle it only lasts a few minutes and then all the people are gone. I’ve spoken to the police who say there isn’t a problem with taxi numbers.”
However, Tony Kearon who is a Labour committee member has said, “First and foremost our concern has to be for the safety and wellbeing of the people of Newcastle.
“It is regrettable that taxi drivers think this will have an impact on their livelihoods, and it is not a decision we have taken lightly.
“But we have a situation where large numbers of people wait for taxis in the town centre. It’s obvious there aren’t enough drivers.”