Taxi drivers and council to tackle 'terrible' spate of vandalism in Portsmouth
TAXI drivers and residents will be called to a public meeting in a bid to tackle a 'terrible' two-year spate of vandalism that has seen windows smashed, paintwork keyed and acid thrown over car bonnets in Portsmouth.
The city council's licensing team will take the views of those affected, including taxi firms, self-employed cabbies and Uber drivers, once the general election is over.
Previously concerns were raised that taxis were being 'targeted' due to the mandatory signs on their sides.
Peter Baltateanu who has worked for Uber in the Portsmouth area for three years has had his car windows smashed recently. He said: 'You can see they're targeting taxis, it's the cars with stickers on and the other cars have no damage on them.'
Drivers have been left out of pocket as they are expected to cover the excess insurance costs. They also lose business while their cars are being repaired.
Glenn Madden, the manager of City Wide taxis, estimated there were more than 100 incidents at City Wide in just one year.
'That's just us, I imagine it's hundreds across the city,' he said.
'I've worked for City Wide since it started in 1986 and in the last two years it has been a real challenge.
'I think it's mindless thugs doing this. It's not just one area of Portsmouth, it's the whole city.'
He agreed there was no longer a need for signs on the side of the cabs. He said: 'Young people now order a taxi on their phone and they get sent the registration number of the car and sometimes the driver's name. There's no need to have something on the side of the car.'
Tory Councillor Donna Jones agreed. She said: ‘Portsmouth City Council is quite overburdensome in terms of the amount of signage which it requires a taxi to have.
‘I’m calling on the council's licencing department to review their policy about the amount of signage on a car to try to reduce the crime that’s happening to taxi drivers.’
Chairman of the council's licensing committee, Councillor Claire Udy, revealed a public meeting would take place after the general election on December 12.
She said: 'We are going to listen to the concerns and ideas of drivers and residents. Ultimately it will be the decision of the committee to make.
'We are doing everything we can do that the time allows us. The process of the council is very slow, we can only run as fast as the process will allow.'