he move to install CCTV in taxis came to a head in April with the killing of Keighley taxi driver Mahmood Ahmed. But the cost of the exercise is seen as a major stumbling block and advertising income could go a long way to overcoming this.
Up to now, advertising on Hackney Carriages and private hire vehicles has been prohibited. The situation is being looked at afresh, with David Webster, Bradford Council’s head of business services, commenting: "We have no problem with the idea of advertising being used in private hire and Hackney Carriage vehicles. We would however need to regulate the size of adverts, where on the vehicle they would go and the content. We will need to draw up some guidelines to be approved by the Regulatory and Appeals Committee. Any decision to have advertising in a cab would be a purely voluntary one."
Mr Webster does, however, believe that the size of advertisements should be limited, otherwise vehicles will look unsightly: "The current thinking is A3 size. We don't want a full door. A3 on a saloon is quite big."
Kris Hopkins (Conservative, Worth Valley), the council leader, also had no objections to the plans and expressed no concern about the size of the advertisements: "There's no political reason why this shouldn't happen. I'm not bothered how much space is designated to advertising."
Taxi operators were also generally in favour of the proposals, with Anthony Watt, of CJ's taxis in Wyke, commenting: "It's a marvellous idea. We have wanted it for years. At the moment, most of the taxis in Bradford look the same, but this will make them stand out more."
The manager of Keighley’s Oxford Private Hire, Pervez Naik, remarked: "We want to put adverts on the cars to generate revenue to fund CCTV cameras. We have never been allowed to have adverts before and we even have to remove the car manufacturer's sticker from the back screen. It's a step forward." Stuart Hastings, a director of Metro Keighley, had mixed views "I don't want stuff all over my cars but, at the same time, I do want cameras. The advertising would help subsidise the cost of installing the cameras."
Mr Hastings did not agree with restricting the space allowed for advertisements. He has been campaigning for the council to reduce attacks on drivers by making security cameras compulsory in taxis and said: "The income from advertising for a driver would probably be about £400 or £500 a year, whereas a camera would be about £1,500. The advertising income would be a big help."