Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Wednesday, 9 July 2008 16:39 UK

City centre 'needs extra taxis'

Taxi sign
There are likely to be further surveys on taxi use in Durham

Councillors in Durham City are being urged to take action to alleviate a shortage of taxis in the city centre.

The results of a survey by an independent transport consultant found significant unmet demand.

A report, recommending the immediate introduction of five new hackney licences, is being put to the city council's cabinet on Wednesday.

The new unitary authority will be adopting its own licensing policy when it comes into being on 1 April 2009.

The survey of taxi use was commissioned in February 2007 and Transportation Planning International spent over 12 months gathering its findings.

Research included street surveys and rank observations, and the seasonal variations associated with the student population and visitors was also taken into account.

Councillor Carol Woods, deputy leader of the city council, said: "We really can't afford to wait any longer to facilitate a better taxi service for the public.

"The important thing for us at the moment is to sort out the unmet demand and make sure we secure the best possible service for the public by adopting the same extra conditions on the new licences as we did when we issued additional licences last year to provide accessible vehicles."

She added: "Local Government reorganisation will involve the new unitary council adopting its own policy for taxi licensing, especially if it wants to try and standardise arrangements across the county, but I expect that there will be consultation with the trade and the public on this in due course."


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