COULD all of Worcester's taxis be the same colour, that is one of the ideas being explored by a group looking at whether introducing a brand for the city's hackney carriages would be beneficial.

Whilst no official decision is remotely close, a city council working group has been weighing up the pros and cons of introducing branding and livery to the entire fleet of Worcester’s taxis and council officers have been in heavy discussion with taxi drivers over its potential.

Ideas include making all of Worcester's taxis a single colour, placing a Worcester City brand on every taxi, introducing the council’s official crest on all vehicles or placing the city council’s name in standard form on every hackney carriage.

A report, to be discussed by the city council’s licensing committee at a meeting on Monday (December 10), said the move to introduce branding was not supported by taxi driver representatives at a recent council taxi forum meeting.

Taxi spokesman cited the “additional and unnecessary” cost to licence holders as the main reason against its introduction and despite licensing officers explaining the “ethos” behind vehicle livery and its possible advantages to taxi drivers and the public, the representatives were “adamant” it should not be introduced.

The possible disadvantages of taxi branding have also been discussed by the group with the potential cost – council estimates say between £250 and £300 per sign per taxi – remaining a huge put off for drivers.

The report also lists paintwork damage from the removal of the branding which could either damage the taxi or hurt its resale value as a reason not to introduce as well as the potential loss of advertising income and the fact it may stop taxi drivers from using their car for private use.

The council feels the benefits of taxi branding are making taxis clearly identifiable which also boosts public safety and security as customers – particularly women and the vulnerable – are more confident that a taxi is properly licensed and meets safety standards which in turn increases trade through increased customer confidence.

The council also feels a local livery creates a strong identity for taxis in the city.