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Taxi driver cap in Worcester due for February launch
A CRACKDOWN on taxi driver numbers in Worcester will finally come into force in February - with a consultation now launching so you can have a say.
The city council has made a call for opinions from the public on how many hackney carriages Worcester needs.
It follows a decade-long spiral in the number of cabbies on the streets, which now stands at 311, 256 of whom are hackneys.
Back in 2001 it was just 102, with claims that the current tally is increasing pollution, causing traffic problems and making it harder for existing drivers to make a living.
A cap on numbers, which would be an historic first for Worcester, is widely backed by the cabbies themselves.
A consultation has now launched and will run until Friday, January 17 ahead of a crunch meeting in February to set a limit.
Your Worcester News can also reveal that part of the deal will see existing drivers hit with higher yearly fees, to pay for more regular surveys of taxi demand.
From now on, independent surveys will take place every three years to assess if the limits need to ever alter.
Councillor Paul Denham, chairman of the licensing committee, said: “We all understand we cannot take away someone’s right to carry on being a driver, but we can set a limit and not issue any more until the numbers have fallen.
“My personal gut feeling is that we’ve probably got twice as many as we need.
“We do need to bring the numbers down and the consultation is important because we want a good spread of people’s opinions.”
The limit only affect hackney carriages, which are allowed to park at the ranks, and not private hire ones, which just react to phone call requests.
It follows an independent survey in September, which was paid for by the taxi trade, suggesting there is no demand which is going unmet.
Mohammed Saig, a Worcester taxi driver, aged 48, said: “The number of taxis are way too high and it’s been a problem for years.
“Anything to cap it is long overdue.”
The consultation can be completed online at www.worcester.gov.uk/voiceit. Printed copies are available from the Guildhall in Worcester or The Hive, or by calling 01527 881395 or emailing email@example.com.
The licensing and environmental health committee is meeting on Wednesday, February 12 to finalise it.
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