Newcastle-under-Lyme taxi drivers fight plans to replace old Hackney cabs

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Taxi drivers in Newcastle-under-Lyme are fighting the council’s plans to replace old Hackney cabs with newer models.

Almost 90 drivers have signed a petition against Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s proposals to stop re-licensing Hackney cabs when they are eight years old.

Tracey Nickalin, manager of City Cabs, said she thinks the council’s idea will prove costly for her taxi firm.

Mrs Nickalin said: “I think it is very unfair.

“It is so difficult now to make a living as a taxi driver and when you have to keep replacing your car for virtually brand new cars, it is very expensive.

“The council are quite willing to give drivers badges for ‘X-amount’ of pounds every year, but then they are making it more difficult for them to have a vehicle to drive.

“As long as the car is clean and tidy and it is MOT tested, I really fail to see what they want to achieve from this.”

Conservative Councillor Mark Holland, who represents Westlands ward, said: “The borough council needs to make clear why it is recommending this rule change for taxis to its public protection committee.

“Hackney carriage licensing has already been thrown into chaos because Labour members chose to deregulate the number of licences available, leading to a number of taxis coming in from miles away to ply their trade.

“If it is a genuine attempt to improve passenger safety, they should discuss the issue more openly with the trade, to find a solution that doesn’t put Newcastle jobs at risk.”

Members of the council’s  public protection committee will make a decision on the age rules in March.

Labour Councillor Mark Olszewski, chairman of Newcastle-under-Lyme’s public protection commitee, said: “We want to provide a clean, green and safe transport system, and particularly to make all Hackney carriages accessible to all in the borough.

“Newcastle Borough Council are continuing to improve the public transport within the borough.”

 

Please see the clip below of Tracey Nickalin’s interview:

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