MAJOR changes to standardise the way taxis are run are on the way.
From September 1, hackney carriages and private hire cars from east Durham will now be able to pick up fares in other parts of County Durham.
This means taxi drivers will now be able to trade outside of their original ‘patch’, in each of the seven former district councils in the county.
Durham County Council is ‘de-zoning’ the area, so taxis can pick up and drop off fares anywhere within the council’s area.
Joanne Waller, the council’s head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “Currently if a licensed hackney carriage driver picks up a passenger in for example Barnard Castle or Peterlee and takes that person to a place in another zone within the county, the driver is prevented from picking up a new fare from a taxi rank or by being hailed in the street, when they reach that destination.
“That not only means that empty vehicles are being driven needlessly all over the county, harming the environment and wasting fuel, but it also means that passengers wanting to get in, are not able to do so.
“By removing the zones we are bringing County Durham in line with many other counties and ensuring a better service for customers, improving accessibility to taxis at peak times in all areas and enabling a system to operate which is fairer to all taxi operators and to the environment.”