Taxi respray scheme would force us off the road - cabbies
ENFORCING a new colour scheme for taxis in Cheltenham could force many cabbies off the road, it is feared.
The borough council has said it will look into introducing a compulsory colour scheme for Hackney carriage drivers, as part of a review of its policy on cabbies in the town.
The move, mirroring schemes introduced in places such as Brighton and Bristol, would be aimed at creating a clearer distinction between private and Hackney taxis.
But taxi drivers themselves would have to foot the bill for the change, having their vehicles resprayed at a cost of around £2,000.
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Di Mitten, secretary of the town's branch of the Hackney Carriage Association, said the scheme would be prohibitively expensive.
"It'll be far too much for a lot of taxi drivers to afford," she said.
"We have already had a lot of costs put upon us due to 'bright ideas' dreamed up over at the council.
"But the reality is, we are here trying to make a living and it is very difficult at the moment.
"Some drivers do 16-hour days and are only bringing in around £30.
"To put these costs on top of everything we already pay to keep our cars on the road seems unreasonable.
"What do they want? Our blood? Because that is all we will have left to give soon.
"Coming up with these new rules from on high is all very well, but it just doesn't reflect the reality of our day-to-day situation."
Cabbies in the town say they have already paid £200 to have taxi signs on the top of their vehicles while many have also been told to change their vehicles to comply with new exhaust emission regulations.
Hackney carriage driver Dave Hayes, from Charlton Kings, has been a taxi driver in the town for the past 14 years.
He said: "It would force a lot of taxi drivers off the road.
"In any case, we are a town – not a city. I don't see why we need a new colour scheme.
"It's already pretty clear which cars are taxis and which ones aren't."
Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood has lobbied the council to introduce the regulations, saying it would make the town safer for people flagging down a cab at night. The matter will be discussed at the Municipal Offices later this year.