North Herts taxi zonal scheme to be officially removed

A COUNCIL’S decision to stop taxi drivers from operating under a zonal scheme is set to be rubber stamped tonight (Thursday).

A formal resolution will be passed at the meeting of North Herts District Council (NHDC) meaning that the five zones in North Herts will officially become one on May 9.

Under the zones, taxis could not pick up customers from outside the area where they are licensed to operate but now any firm can operate across North Herts.

The decision, which was agreed at Cabinet in December, has been widely criticised by members of the trade.

Daniel McDonald, who has been driving taxis in Hitchin for the last 29 years and is an active member of the taxi forum, said: “It was put forward to make it greener so cars coming from say Royston to Hitchin can pick up a return fare on the way back to Royston but in reality that will never happen.

“The idea of zones was it provided the right number of cars for the area at any time but now there could be too many in one place so instead of it being a benefit to the public it will be a hindrance.”

The owner of Tiny Taxis in Hitchin, Melvyn Day, added: “It just means that if a Letchworth GC or Baldock taxi is running through Hitchin the public can flag it down or wait at a Hitchin rank.

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“The only real change people will notice is that after midnight is that out of town taxis will come to Hitchin to pick people up outside the nightclubs. It is already full of cars parked down there but that’s a matter for the council.”