Newcastle's black and white taxi plan on hold

CREDIT: Newcastle City Council
Plans to rebrand Newcastle’s taxis in black and white have been put on hold. Credit: Newcastle City Council

Plans to rebrand Newcastle’s taxis in black and white have been put on hold.

Newcastle City Council have paused proposals to require hackney carriage drivers to deck out their vehicles in the famous colours of Newcastle United.

The design was meant to give officially-licensed taxis a “distinctive” look that could help to cut crime, amid concerns that criminals have been posing as cab drivers to target vulnerable victims in the city centre.

The scheme sparked anger among drivers, who staged a protest outside Newcastle Civic Centre in June and claimed that the cost of fitting white vinyl wraps around their bonnets would become a “huge burden”.

The controversial taxi policy had been due to be decided by council members on Wednesday 12 July but was pulled from the agenda a few hours before the meeting.

A council spokesperson confirmed that the delay was to allow for further talks with the GMB union and drivers.

They said: “Taxis play an important role in keeping our city moving and many people in our communities rely upon them. Everyone who uses a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle in Newcastle should feel safe doing so and that’s exactly what these new measures set out to achieve.

“It’s clear there has been some misunderstanding about the purpose of the policy and the positive impact this will have for public safety. We have held productive conversations with the GMB and these will continue. 

“The GMB are clear they are not asking their members to object to the policy. Over the summer we’d like to continue that engagement with GMB and the trade to clarify the purpose of the policy.

“The item for discussion will be deferred until the next council meeting to allow these conversations to take place.”

Dozens of hackney carriage drivers demonstrated outside the civic centre when the taxi policy was discussed by the council’s cabinet last month.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...