TAXI firms have backed calls for less strict rules from Tendring Council relating to requirements for driver licences.

This comes after it was reported that only one firm, Harwich Taxis, was operating after 4pm.

Other firms have disputed this but have agreed that the council rules, which state applicants must have a working knowledge of the entire Tendring district, are too strict.

Colette Franklin of A2B Taxis said: “We have a driver most evenings but like Harwich Taxis and Mayflower Taxis, we are still short of drivers and overworked.

“Like everyone else we need a break, we have families and home lives to get back to but the demand is so high because its hard for new drivers to get a licence.”

As well as the knowledge test, Colette also bemoaned the suitability test which that requires Tendring drivers to have some knowledge of Colchester as well.

Steve Ham of Steve’s Taxi Service in Harwich is concerned about the testing process, but for a different reason.

He said: “I don’t think the requirements is too restrictive, my take is that it’s too expensive.

“The entire process can cost more than £500 which is tough considering how many people end up failing.”

Harwich councillor Garry Calver is working on a solution and has been in dialogue with councillor Colin Winfield who is chairman of the licensing and registration committee at Tendring Council.

Mr Winfield said: “I want the drivers to keep their jobs because we need them, but it’s up to the committee.

“We’ve got a question coming up at the latest council meeting asking the committee to address the situation which we will do the best of our ability.”

A spokesperson for Tendring Council said: “The suitability test may include a question on using the A-Z map book, what grid reference is Colchester Zoo for example.”

For more information on taxi licensing in Tendring visit