THE number of licensed hackney carriages that can operate in Cambridge is to remain at the existing level of 321.
Cambridge City Council’s Licensing Committee decided to retain the existing number of licences after a recent independent survey indicated there was no significant unmet demand for hackney carriages.
The survey was carried out by LSVA (Licensed Vehicle Surveys and Assessment) between June and November 2017 and included consultations with the public, the taxi trade and other organisations including hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and the police.
Compared to a previous survey in 2012, it indicated that the taxi rank at Cambridge Station had become more popular with taxi users, but that usage of hackney carriages overall across the city had remained steady despite a growing population.
Of people interviewed in the survey 87% said they had used a licensed vehicle in the last three months. 100% of people surveyed at the station, and 94% of people elsewhere in the city said they could always access a licensed vehicle that suited them when needed.
Only 11% of people surveyed indicated they had any issues with the hackney carriage service in Cambridge, suggesting a high level of satisfaction overall.
88% of taxi drivers responded that the limit should remain, as it contributed to a reduction in pollution, congestion and over-ranking.
Part of the reason for initially capping the number of taxis in the city in 2015 was to promote benefits such as:
- Reducing the perception of overcrowding at taxi ranks in the city centre
- Lessening the need for taxi drivers to work longer hours, and so improving safety for passengers and drivers
- Allowing drivers to develop the current customer base rather than fight for trade
- Limiting air pollution from taxis in the city
Cllr Gerri Bird, Chair of Licensing Committee, said: “Taxi drivers play a very important role in the day-to-day life of a city like Cambridge.
“We feel that limiting the number of hackney carriage licences in the city is the best way of providing a safe and efficient service for passengers and drivers alike and allowing drivers
“By retaining this limit on licences we can better tackle existing problems and help provide an even better service for residents and visitors to the city.”