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‘Give all taxi firms a fair crack of the whip at train station rank’

Brian Attwood, left, and Lizzie Allen, right, both feel introducing permits at Berkhamsted railway station would be the best way forward PNL-140331-171247001

Brian Attwood, left, and Lizzie Allen, right, both feel introducing permits at Berkhamsted railway station would be the best way forward PNL-140331-171247001

An MP is supporting a campaign for taxi permits to be introduced on a rank outside Berkhamsted Railway 
Station.

The rank on Lower Kings Road is owned by London Midland and currently any taxi driver with a license can go and ply for trade there.

Now David Gauke – MP for South West Herts – believes a permit scheme should be introduced as a way of encouraging fair trade for all taxi firms in the town, and has written to London Midland to express his concerns.

He said: “My main desire is to make sure that all taxi firms are treated fairly and that there’s fair choice and competition for all.

“If there’s been some confusion on how the rank works in the past, I think that permits may be the best way forward.”

A permit scheme would mean all firms wanting to ply for trade would have to pay for a separate permit, enabling London Midland to cut congestion at the rank and keep an eye on all the companies who work from there.

A spokesman for London Midland said there were no plans to introduce such a system but that the situation was being monitored.

The spokesman said: “We have spoken to the firms involved and we will be monitoring the situation.

“Everyone should have a fair crack of the whip.”

Ace Taxis, based in Northbridge Road, have launched an email campaign to appeal to customers to support its requests for a permit system to be introduced and foster fair business in the town.

They are concerned that Choice Taxis, based at the station, is monopolising the commuter trade and making it difficult for other companies to get passengers.

Ross Hill, licensing team leader at Dacorum Borough Council, said: “We work with the police and taxi companies across Dacorum to ensure that our taxi licensing regulations are met, and will take enforcement action where evidence of misconduct is found.

“However, we cannot intervene in commercial matters which do not involve the council.”

Derek Gowlett, manager of the Choice taxis Hemel office, said: “There’s no campaign to be had, because anybody who’s got a permit can park there.

“We’re not stopping anyone parking there, but there’s only space for three cars so if our customers have pre-booked, our cars will be waiting there.”

Resident and regular taxi customer Lizzie Allen said: “This is definitely not a campaign against Choice – which in my view do actually run an efficient service – rather, the campaign is aimed at opening up the rank to multiple taxi providers in the interests of fairness.”

Commuter Brian Attwood said: “I think there is a problem to address.

“It needs to be open to all and London Midland needs to take an active role.”

 

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