Restrictions on the number of taxis in Brighton and Hove could be scrapped.
At present 528 cabbies have licences, with five new licences granted each year in May.
Brighton and Hove City Council is one of the few local authorities to restrict the number of taxi licences.
It has no power to limit the number of private hire vehicles though. Private hire drivers can only accept bookings made through a private hire operator and cannot ply for hire in the street or at taxi ranks.
The move to scrap the restriction on taxi licence numbers is one of four options being considered by the council’s licensing committee. The other three options for taxi – or hackney carriage – licences are to
- continue to grant five new licences a year
- reduce the number of new licences to two a year
- keep the number of licences constant at 528.
Having commissioned research, including a survey, from a firm of consultants, the council is satisfied that there is no significant unmet demand for taxis.
This will enable councillors to keep restrictions in place on the number of licences.
The Department for Transport advises that best practice is for councils to issue licences without a restriction on numbers.
Any new licences in Brighton and Hove are likely to be restricted to wheelchair-friendly taxis.
If the restrictions are scrapped, the council expects the rise in the number of new taxi licences. It also expects a similar fall in the number of private hire vehicles operating in Brighton and Hove.
At present, 114 applicants are on the waiting list for a taxi licence.
Another consequence could well be more problems with congestion as taxis queue for the rank at Brighton Station.
Councillors will make a recommendation to the council’s cabinet when the licensing committee meets at 3pm on Thursday 26 November at Hove Town Hall.
The report on which they based their recommendation can be found here.