More taxis on the way

IPSWICH could soon see more taxis on its streets. Ipswich Borough Council is this week due to decide whether to allow more hackney carriages in Ipswich.

IPSWICH could soon see more taxis on its streets.

Ipswich Borough Council is this week due to decide whether to allow more hackney carriages in Ipswich.

The town, which currently has 121 taxis, is being pressed by the government to lift restrictions on the number of Ipswich taxis.

The borough council's report into the matter agrees restrictions should be lifted.

But it suggests that any would-be taxis would have to be wheelchair-accessible in order to get their first hackney carriage licence.

This would help fulfil the government requirement for Ipswich to bring in wheelchair-accessible taxis over a ten-year period from 2010 to 2020.

Most Read

Eric Pearl, secretary of Ipswich Taxi Drivers Association, welcomed this as a way to stop a mass influx of new taxi drivers.

He said: “This is what we have been expecting.

“We are worried about deregulation, but it's unstoppable by the taxi trade or by the borough council.

“But councils did have the option to open it up to all vehicles, which would have caused World War Three with the taxi world.

“We would have had 300 taxis trying to get on to Lloyds Avenue instead of around 100. This would have been a disaster and would have made it difficult for customers to get a taxi by telephone.

“Obviously they are not taking that route and we are pleased there are looking at this way forward.

“The principle reason we support this recommendation is that the council have put the emphasis on the transition of the taxi fleet to wheelchair-accessible taxis over a period of time. It's good for the taxi trade and for the public.”

The borough council's licensing and regulatory committee is due to make its decision on taxi deregulation on Friday.

The only way the borough council could retain the limit on taxi numbers is by proving and publishing that restriction is in the public interest.

The independent study could cost up to £20,000 and would have to be repeated every three years.

The Office of Fair Trading has said that restricting the number of taxis can result in people waiting longer for taxis, using less suitable means of transport or having to join long waiting lists in order to become a taxi driver.

Do you think there should be limits on the number of Ipswich taxis? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter