The unique branding for taxis in Windsor and Maidenhead is set to change in recognition of the substantial costs of hybrid and electric cab vehicles.

Since 2012, all new taxis in the area have been required to be white and feature a purple bonnet and boot along with the coat of arms of the Royal Borough (RBWM).

This has created a distinctive look for cabs, known as hackney carriages in Windsor and Maidenhead for over a decade.

But this policy of requiring cabs to be white has proved expensive for drivers.

According to Autotrader research, the cost of regular electric and hybrid cabs ranges from £17,000 to £30,000.

That rises to £66,000 for wheelchair-accessible cabs which increases by £550 for the required white paint.

Therefore, the Royal Borough’s licensing panel has been considering changing the livery in recognition of these costs, which was discussed at a recent meeting.

In a recent consultation, the public was presented with three options:

  1. Change the livery for electric and hybrid cabs, acknowledging the additional expense
  2. Replacing livery with magnetic signage
  3. Removing livery altogether

Of the 320 responses to the consultation, 89 per cent said they recognised the livery, with 87 per cent of people who are not cab drivers calling for the livery to remain the same.

READ MORE: Coat of arms requirement could be removed from taxis amid green drive

Speaking at the panel meeting, cab driver Mr Sabir noted that RBWM is the only council in the area to have a defined livery.

Mr Sabir said: “We feel that those councils actually listen to their drivers, but our council doesn’t seem interested, we are always thinking about the public, but we have to put our drivers first as well when their views actually matter.”

Fellow cab driver Mr Yasin pointed out that a ‘tiny proportion’ of the borough’s 155,000-strong population responded to the consultation, arguing that the small amount of people who support liveries should not be allowed to dictate policy.

He presented a possible design for a magnetic sign which could be used as a replacement to the livery.

Slough Observer:

However, councillors on the panel generally agreed that the liveries should remain albeit with modernisation.

Councillor Simon Werner (Liberal Democrats, Pinkneys Green), the council leader, argued the livery needs to be classy, which he feels is not the case at the moment.

He said: “The pinky-purple bonnet looks more like an ice cream van than a taxi that you want to be proud to be travelling in.”

Ultimately, the Royal Borough licensing panel chose to delegate authority to the council’s assistant director of housing and public protection to change the livery.

These changes will be undertaken in consultation with cllr Werner the cabinet member for public protection and cllr Mandy Brar (Liberal Democrats, Bisham and Cookham), the chair of the licensing panel.

In a vote, seven councillors voted for the change, with cllrs John Story (Conservative, Ascot and Sunninghill) and Genevieve Gosling (Conservative, Sunningdale and Cheapside) voting against it.

The decision was made at the meeting on Tuesday, February 13.