Busiest taxi rank in Reading revealed as cabs limit set

Unsurprisingly, the horseshoe taxi rank directly south of the train station accounts for 11,628 journeys per week, which is 52 per cent of the total.

The taxi rank in Station Hill to the west accounted for 2,948 of weekly journeys (13 per cent), with 2,582 (12 per cent) of journeys being made from the rank at the north exit of the station.

These three station taxi ranks together account for 77 per cent of the cab trade.

There were 583 passengers (three per cent) going from the taxi rank at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, and 460 (two per cent) going from Station Road.

Remarkably, approximately 2.73 million taxi journeys are made annually in Reading, with  1.17 million journeys being made from taxi ranks.

Figures show that 210,000 passengers use cabs, 368,200 hirings are made through apps and 982,000 passengers call to book a private

hire taxis journey.

These figures were revealed in a survey conducted last year to determine whether there is ‘unmet demand’ for cabs in Reading, which would justify more cabs being added to the fleet.

The current limit of hackney cab licenses is 216.

Options to keep or relax the limit were recently discussed at a Reading Borough Council’s licensing applications committee.

Asif Rashid, chairman of the Reading Taxi Association (RTA) said: “This report was very thorough, it’s overdue, the results aren’t surprising.

“What does stick out there has been a drop in trade.”

The data from the survey conducted by Ian Millership of CTS traffic & transportation showed a 27 per cent drop in cab trade since 2019.

Mr Rashid said the ‘most significant’ statistic was that 85 per cent of passengers travelled at times when there was no delay to get a cab at all.

Syed Abbas, a driver who rents his cab, called for the limit to be eased so that himself and others can make the switch from being cab renters to cab owners.

Mr Abbas said: “We only request to the licensing committee, officers and our RTA union and all other owners of hackney cabs to come forward and give the right to deserving drivers to have opportunities to get their licenses.

“If the council issues five licenses per year for three years that will help all the deserving drivers who have been working for more than 15 years.”

Councillors argued that removing the limit could only be justified if there is an increase in demand.

Cllr Tony Page (Labour, Abbey) said: “Given the catastrophic government we have, it’s hardly surprising.”

He also thanked cab drivers for their work during the pandemic.

Cllr Paul Woodward (Labour, Church), the committee chairman hoped the demand for cabs would increase as the economy improves.

Ultimately, the committee decided to retain the limit on cab licences at 216 at the meeting on Tuesday, February 20.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre