Taxi limit to be imposed

sp87905  black cabs at station
sp87905 black cabs at station

COUNCIL bosses have agreed to impose a limit on the number of Hackney carriage taxi drivers in Chesterfield after complaints from cabbies.

Drivers said rising competition was leading to fewer fares, forcing them to work longer hours and encouraging poor conduct.

Chesterfield Borough Council commissioned a survey which identified there was not a significant demand from people wanting the black cabs and last month it agreed to impose a limit of 110 Hackney Carriage licences.

David Hopton, of Chesterfield Hackney Owners and Drivers Association, said: “This was a momentous day when the council agreed with the Hackney trade that too many licence plates had been issued leaving the town flooded with taxis.

“People in this area have been let down badly by the council and I would implore them to listen to the public, their complaints and suggestions and act on them.”

The council stated it decided in 1995 not to limit the number but insisted all Hackneys be wheel-chair accessible and a 2003 Office of Fair Trading investigation concluded limits were not in the interests of consumers.

The former Government advised against limits, according to the council, unless a local authority could show there was “no unmet demand” which amounted to showing a significantly reduced number of people wanting taxis.

The Association complained increased numbers of Hackney Carriage licences were forcing some drivers to work longer, quote over-inflated fares and take customers on longer routes.

The council has now decided to impose a 110 limit but the existing 178 licenses will only be reduced when holders choose not to renew them.

It said it had not issued too many Hackney Carriage licences and the number would not have risen to 178 unless there was sufficient work, but after the survey identified a reduced demand, decided to impose a limit.

A council spokesman said: “The council could have imposed a limit of 178 but members felt we should use the Office of Fair Trading’s suggested ratio as the basis for imposing a limit of 110.”

Do you think there are enough taxis in Chesterfield? Email comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk.

jon.cooper

@derbyshiretimes.co.uk