The council has voted to keep a cap on the number of hackney carriages in the borough, igniting the fury of drivers without the licence.

The decision by Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Licensing Applications committee on Tuesday (June 11) was in response to a driver-funded survey which found there was no need for more hackney carriages in Reading.

A large group of rental taxi drivers, who have been working for more than ten years and do not have a hackney carriage licence, protested the decision and handed in a petition to the council.

The drivers called the decision ‘totally unfair’.

Sohail Abbass, speaking on behalf of the group, said: “We have been working as rental taxi drivers for more than ten years.

“It’s been a long time waiting for a hackney carriage licence. This is totally unfair.

“Many drivers come from different boroughs every day for work in Reading, spending extra fuel to come and go back home.

“The council say there is not enough work. If there isn’t enough work how they can be working here for many years?

“We request to council and councillors and the chair of licensing to please think about those drivers who been working here for long time. There is plenty of work.”

The survey, which takes place every three years, suggests a 14 per cent reduction in usage of hackney carriages at ranks since the last survey in 2015.

Just four per cent of all passengers observed experienced a delay of a minute or more at a rank.

Ali Sheikh, vice chair of the Reading Cab Drivers Association, said: “If all those people suddenly own cabs it is too much for the trade. We are happy to go with what the survey says."

A representative of Reading Taxi Association added: “It was a very comprehensive report.

“This survey clearly shows that there is not an unmet need.”

Hackney carriages are public transport vehicles which can be hailed by prospective passengers in the street and park on a rank to await the approach of passengers.

A hackney carriage must be driven by a driver who holds a hackney carriage driver’s licence.