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Agenda item

Hackney Carriage Demand Survey


Questions from members of the public.


Andy Vines and Rasha Mohammed responded to the report and made the following comments:


  i.  Demand often peaked at the Railway Station as taxis needed a permit to enter the site.

  ii.  Members of the public using City Centre ranks often have to wait for a saloon car. These offered easier access to passengers who were less mobile and find wheelchair accessible taxis problematic.

  iii.  A better range of vehicles would be helpful for the public.

  iv.  There were sufficient vehicles Hackney Carriages Vehicles (HCV) to meet current demand.

  v.  8 out of 10 HCV drivers take phone bookings as well as it was difficult for drivers to make a living from HCV only trade.

  vi.  The trade had been supportive of the survey and this had produced a good return.

 vii.  Unmet demand at the Railway Station was often the result of gridlock elsewhere in the City.

viii.  Current HCV numbers cannot be accommodated on the ranks and local residents often complain about vehicles either waiting in residential road or circled while they wait for a spot on the rank.

  ix.  There was limited demand on the ranks for wheelchair accessible vehicles.

  x.  The trade view was that there were too many HCV rather than too few.


The Committee received a report from the Licensing & Enforcement Manager regarding the Hackney Carriage Demand Survey and a presentation from consultant, Paul Bradley of LSVA (what is this).

The report advised that the Council may, as part of its adopted policy on the licensing of HCV, consider whether to apply a limit on the maximum number of HCV licences which it will issue at any time. However, this power may be exercised only if the Council is satisfied that there is no significant demand for the services of HCVs which is unmet (section 16 Transport Act 1985).  The Council has no power to limit the number of Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) licences.


The Committee then debated the Officer’s report.


The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Suggested that the impact of congestion should be considered. Peak time congestion would impact on perceptions of unmet demand.

  ii.  Suggested that future surveys that included an analysis of wait times (at a taxi rank) cross referenced to the time of day would be helpful.

  iii.  Suggested that the use of a recognisable vehicle livery and CCTV in vehicles might encourage users to use HCV rather than other options.


Councillor Benstead reminded the Committee of the following issues:

·  The distinction between HCV and Private Hire Vehicles.

·  HCV were often shared by several drivers increasing their ‘available for hire’ time.

·  Rank space was not in the gift of the City Council.

·  Private Hire Vehicles from other areas were permitted to work in the City.


The Licensing & Enforcement Manager explained the apparent discrepancy between the HCV limit agreed and the current number, which exceeded that limit. A small number of drivers had ordered vehicles and submitted applications before the limit was agreed. On the ground of fairness and in view of the expenses they had occurred, licences had been issues. The vehicle limit had not been raised correspondingly as it was expected that the numbers would fall due to natural wastage as licences were surrendered. 


The Committee:

Resolved (unanimously)

  i.  The Committee determined that they were satisfied that there was no significant demand for hackney carriages in Cambridge which was unmet.

Resolved (by 10 votes to 0 and 1 abstention) to

  ii.  Keep the limit at the existing level of 321.

Resolved (unanimously) to

  iii.  Refused to remove the existing limit.


Supporting documents: