A TAXI firm which has operated in the town for a quarter of a century is gearing up to launch an around-the-clock service.

A&B Cars, based in Winchester Street, will this week be moving to a 24-hour taxi service – and the switch will come in time for the weekend.

“November 1 is going to be the first night we go all the way through,” said Steve Newell, who co-owns the company with his dad, Andy.

“It’s something that’s been in the pipeline a long time. We’ve finally got the right amount of cars where we can do this and we’ve got the staff who are willing to stay up and do the extra shifts.”

“We were so close to being 24 hours anyway, but you had to pre-book. Now people don’t have to.”

Previously the firm, which has been a fixture in Andover since 1994, did not operate through the night on weekdays, and on weekends their service stopping running at 4am before restarting the following morning.

But Steve says it’s primarily those midweek passengers who are set to benefit most from the move to 24 hours.

“There’s lots of people who do use the taxis a silly o’clock in the morning,” he added.

“It’s quite surprising how many times that phone rings with nobody in to answer it.”

A&B Cars joins 1-2 Call Cabs, based in Station Approach, in offering a 24-hour taxi service in the town.

Steve says he thinks it’s vital that more cars are on the roads and offering a service, and that he believes it can even help to tackle wider issues such as drink driving.

“It’s so important,” he added. “Especially this time of year as well.

“When we are driving late at night, we see the drink drivers and I think a lot of it is because of a lack of cars providing a service in the town.”

A&B Cars are based at 9 Winchester Street and can be reached on 01264 323444.