DEMANDS have been made for more taxi ranks in Windsor as anxious drivers struggle to keep their livelihoods afloat.
No new taxi rank spaces have been set up in the town by the Royal Borough since it started issuing five new Hackney Carriage licences a month in April 2012 and deregulated taxis in April this year.
To date, 71 new licences have been issued, taking the total number of Hackney Carriage licences in the borough to 159 plus 959 private hire vehicles.
Drivers fear the lack of spaces is squeezing their business and Mohammad Yasin, who has driven a taxi in the borough for more than 18 years, said the situation was the worst he had ever seen.
Mr Yasin said: “When they decided to issue five more licences each month, they said it would not be a problem. Now, we are always struggling to find a space around Windsor.
“We cannot get work. It is making life very difficult. It backs up traffic, too, especially around the Castle.”
UKIP councillor Tom Bursnall, who raised concerns about the shortage of ranks when deregulation was approved earlier this year, has supported the call for extra ranks.
He said: “I am calling on the council to free up more taxi rank space urgently. The increasing number of Hackney Carriages in Windsor is placing a significant burden on parking and traffic obstruction. These chaps need more places where they can pick up customers like outside the East Berkshire College, in St Leonard’s Road, and additional bays around the Castle. Without the space, their chance to earn income will also suffer.”
Cllr Carwyn Cox, cabinet member for environmental services, said the provision of taxi rank spaces was being reviewed across the borough.
He added: “Twelve extra spaces have already been provided in Maidenhead and additional capacity will be catered for if this is necessary.”