A GROUP of taxi traders in Southampton has backed civic chiefs following a row over some regulations.

Some taxi drivers in the city said the city council should not allow drivers of private hire vehicles to use magnetic door signs as the safety of customers "must come first".

The news comes as earlier this week some taxi drivers protested outside the civic centre.

They asked licensing bosses to allow drivers of private hire vehicles to use magnetic door signs instead of permanent ones so that drivers could work for more than one company.

But Southampton City Council said magnetic door signs are not allowed in a bid to protect the public.

Now a group of traders in the city has backed the authority.

Ian Hall,  chairman of Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association , said: "We need to keep these permanent stickers on. The magnetic stickers can be pinched, they can fall off the vehicle and they damage the door. "

Mr Hall said he has been in the industry for more than three decades.

"We were part of the group that agreed with the council that we needed to get away from these magnetic stickers to have a safety aspect for the customer because the customer is of paramount importance," he said.

Joe Jones, part-owner of Southampton-based company Door2Door, said permanent door signs provide both customers and employers with "extra assurances".He said he would be "reluctant" to employ drivers who use magnetic door signs.

Clive Johnson, chairman or Radio Drivers Association (RDA), acknowledged the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

But he added: "It is a struggle for everybody. I feel very sorry for people struggling but we have got to protect customers. The safety of our customers must come first. "

The city council had previously said it requires the vehicle to display the current operator to help customers in identifying the vehicle they have booked.