Freeze in taxi driver numbers for Worcester - and a cap for the first time ever

Taxis in Worcester: cap revealed

Taxis in Worcester: cap revealed

First published in News
Last updated
Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

A SUDDEN freeze in taxi driver numbers across Worcester can today be revealed - with NO more cabbies being handed licences in the city.

After years of concern about pollution and congestion due to spiralling cabbie numbers, Worcester City Council has revealed plans for an historic cap.

Under the plans, no more licences will be dished out until more than 30 current drivers have quit.

At the moment Worcester has 261 hackney carriage drivers, a record high, but the council wants to set the city's first ever cap at 231.

Once it falls to 230 or lower, it will start handing out hackney carriage licences again, saying it will launch a lottery process if demand is high.

It is also planning to discourage potential hackney drivers by whacking the fee up by £27, on top of the current price of £399.

The city council has just finished a two-month public consultation over it, revealing:

- 84 per cent of people believe Worcester has too many taxis

- 87 per cent say should the council should not hand out any more licences

- 86 per cent agreed with a cap, and a freeze until the current tally falls below that level

Back in 2001 Worcester had just over 100 taxis, but the overall numbers since then have tripled when you include private hire vehicles.

It has led to years of concern, especially around Foregate Street and The Cross about damage to the environment and congestion.

Worcester Taxi Drivers Association has also consistently argued for a cap, but it has never happened, partly due to concerns over legal challenges.

A vote will take place during a licensing committee next Wednesday and if agreed, it will come into force immediately.

It follows an independent survey carried out last year, which was paid for by the trade, and suggested Worcester doesn't need any more cabs.

Councillor Jabba Riaz, who sits on the licensing committee, said: "I have always been up for a cap, in terms of what's been happening in Worcester we all know there's far too many."

Taxi driver Asif Mahmood, 41, said: "Drivers have been saying they can't make a decent living and it's been that way for too long.

"Worcester has taxis all over the place, the plates should have stopped a long time ago."

The council does not have powers to strip taxi drivers of their licences in order to reach the level of 231, but is hoping natural wastage will gradually bring it down.

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:02pm Tue 4 Feb 14

dave cus says...

good!
good! dave cus
  • Score: 6

8:03pm Tue 4 Feb 14

BUGSY27 says...

As a ex taxi driver I blame the GREEDY owners from years ago who owned taxis they would sell them for £20,000 + then went to the council saying they wanted another licence then the council gave in to certain owners some who ended up having 3 or 4 different licence plates.
As a ex taxi driver I blame the GREEDY owners from years ago who owned taxis they would sell them for £20,000 + then went to the council saying they wanted another licence then the council gave in to certain owners some who ended up having 3 or 4 different licence plates. BUGSY27
  • Score: 1

1:42am Wed 5 Feb 14

Jabbadad says...

BUGSY27 I agree but it also shows a greed from the then Tory council for grabbing the license fees since 261 cabs @ £399 = £104,139 yearly.
Now 261 cabs @ £426 = £111,186 per year.
BUGSY27 I agree but it also shows a greed from the then Tory council for grabbing the license fees since 261 cabs @ £399 = £104,139 yearly. Now 261 cabs @ £426 = £111,186 per year. Jabbadad
  • Score: 2

12:36pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Spetchley Dave says...

Are the Council being greedy? They don’t force people to apply for licences, they choose to apply because they want to.

The circle I have trouble squaring is that all the taxi drivers claim there are too many taxis for them to make a living and yet more and more keep going along and getting licences.

Last time I checked, we lived in a free market economy. If a business is failing to make money due to competition, the market will determine which businesses survive and which fail. If a taxi driver cannot feed and clothe his family driving taxis, then he should be looking for a career change not moaning to the Council and asking for them to stop further competition entering the market.

Can coffee shop owners ask for a cap on the number of coffee shops in the City to protect their business interests? No. Can clothes shops ask for a cap on the number of clothes shops in the City to protect their business interests? No.

So why is it that taxi drivers able to have their business interests protected from competition? Exactly what influence do the taxi drivers have over our local politicians?
Are the Council being greedy? They don’t force people to apply for licences, they choose to apply because they want to. The circle I have trouble squaring is that all the taxi drivers claim there are too many taxis for them to make a living and yet more and more keep going along and getting licences. Last time I checked, we lived in a free market economy. If a business is failing to make money due to competition, the market will determine which businesses survive and which fail. If a taxi driver cannot feed and clothe his family driving taxis, then he should be looking for a career change not moaning to the Council and asking for them to stop further competition entering the market. Can coffee shop owners ask for a cap on the number of coffee shops in the City to protect their business interests? No. Can clothes shops ask for a cap on the number of clothes shops in the City to protect their business interests? No. So why is it that taxi drivers able to have their business interests protected from competition? Exactly what influence do the taxi drivers have over our local politicians? Spetchley Dave
  • Score: 6

12:37pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Giorgos says...

Can't the council also insist that engines have to be switched off whilst waiting at taxi ranks, thus reducing pollution in the city centre?
Can't the council also insist that engines have to be switched off whilst waiting at taxi ranks, thus reducing pollution in the city centre? Giorgos
  • Score: 3

12:44pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Bismarck says...

A fair point Dave. Can drivers claim tax credits if they earn below a certain threshold? - perhaps that accounts for the numbers of drivers applying for licences these days. Perhaps one for someone with more knowledge of these things than I to comment on

What I don't undertsand is how Jabba Riaz is quoted as saying that "...we all know there are far too many ..." yet he has been on the licensing committee for a number of years now and is evidently reponsible for approving excessive numbers of licenses. How does that work?
A fair point Dave. Can drivers claim tax credits if they earn below a certain threshold? - perhaps that accounts for the numbers of drivers applying for licences these days. Perhaps one for someone with more knowledge of these things than I to comment on What I don't undertsand is how Jabba Riaz is quoted as saying that "...we all know there are far too many [taxis]..." yet he has been on the licensing committee for a number of years now and is evidently reponsible for approving excessive numbers of licenses. How does that work? Bismarck
  • Score: 3

4:07pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Jabbadad says...

Coun Riaz was in fact the Chairman of that committee, but also previously had connections with the Taxi community.
But as to why no caps from the taxi drivers, they are not a harmonious bunch in fact there is strong competition between the Asian groups.
Such as being allowed by means of additional payment to ply from the Shrub Hill Station, since I understand that a Block Francjise from the railways has to be bought and then issued / hired to other drivers.
As to the engines being left running I have enquired both to the Police and the Traffic wardens about an infringement in leaving engines running whilst parked, the Police typicaly said it wasn't anything to do with them, (I often wonder what they are required to do) and the Traffic wardens say that the drivers watch carefully and if a warden approaches they move just a little forwards and say that they are on a rolling rank. The only cause for action is through the Worcester City Enviromental Health Department who undertake the AIr Monitoring, and to get this done it needs to go through a City / County Councillor.
Webb site for Air Quality is www.worcsregservices
.gov.uk Then scroll down for Pollution and Air Quality monitoring. I understand that there is a list of monitoring already undertaken. .
Coun Riaz was in fact the Chairman of that committee, but also previously had connections with the Taxi community. But as to why no caps from the taxi drivers, they are not a harmonious bunch in fact there is strong competition between the Asian groups. Such as being allowed by means of additional payment to ply from the Shrub Hill Station, since I understand that a Block Francjise from the railways has to be bought and then issued / hired to other drivers. As to the engines being left running I have enquired both to the Police and the Traffic wardens about an infringement in leaving engines running whilst parked, the Police typicaly said it wasn't anything to do with them, (I often wonder what they are required to do) and the Traffic wardens say that the drivers watch carefully and if a warden approaches they move just a little forwards and say that they are on a rolling rank. The only cause for action is through the Worcester City Enviromental Health Department who undertake the AIr Monitoring, and to get this done it needs to go through a City / County Councillor. Webb site for Air Quality is www.worcsregservices .gov.uk Then scroll down for Pollution and Air Quality monitoring. I understand that there is a list of monitoring already undertaken. . Jabbadad
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree