Quantity Restrictions - Hackney Carriage Vehicles
The Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Resources submitted a report to enable Members to consider the findings of the survey conducted by Licensed Vehicle Surveys and Assessment (LVSA). She asked Cabinet to consider the report be LVSA and to consider what action to take in light of the findings of the survey.
Approval of the report was not deemed a key decision.
Reasons for Decision
The Council currently has a policy of restricting the number of hackney carriage licences issued. However in maintaining such a policy the Council has to provide evidence that there is no significant unmet demand for hackney carriage services in the area in order to be in a position to refuse any new applications for additional licences. For this purpose it has been considered necessary to commission an independent survey to assess the level of demand for hackney carriage services, and that the survey should be carried out by an organisation specialising in that area.
The present legal provision on quantity restrictions outside London is set out in section 16 of the Transport Act 1985. This provides that the grant of a taxi (hackney carriage) licence may be refused, for the purpose of limiting the numbers of licensed taxis 'if, but only if, the [local licensing authority] is satisfied that there is no significant demand for the services of hackney carriages (within the area to which the licence would apply) which is unmet.'
Around three quarters of local licensing authorities do not impose quantity restrictions. The Department for Transport Best Practice Guidance states that 'Where restrictions are imposed, the department would urge that the matter should be regularly reconsidered. The Department further urges that the issue to be addressed first in each reconsideration is whether the restrictions should continue at all. It was suggested that the matter should be approached in terms of the travelling public - that is to say, the people who use taxi services. What benefits or disadvantages would result for the public if the controls were removed? Was there evidence that the removal of controls would result in deterioration in the amount or quality of taxi service provision?'
Members were informed that if they took the view that a quantity restriction could be justified, the question of the level at which it should be set should be considered.
During the summer of 2018 LVSA carried out a survey on the demand for hackney carriage services in the Borough. During the survey the number of hackney carriage vehicles that were actually licensed was 60, although the current limit on the issue of hackney carriage plates had been set at 62. Two plates had been allowed to expire and had not been renewed and it was decided that the Council should await the outcome of the survey so that members could determine whether there was a need to re issue the plates.
The findings of the survey have been presented by LVSA and are contained in the report. Members were requested to note that even with the hackney carriage fleet running at the reduced number of 60 instead of 62 the survey had included that there was no significant unmet demand for hackney carriage services at this time.
The report at page 41 under recommendations stated 'On the basis of the evidence gathered in this Hackney carriage unmet demand survey for Hyndburn Borough Council, the key conclusion was that there was no evidence of any unmet demand for the services of hackney carriages either patent or latent which was significant at this point in time in the Hyndburn Borough Council licensing area. The committee therefore had the possibility of being able to retain the current limit and defend the decision if necessary. Further, given that the estimate saw just 60 plates active, the Committee could also agree that the limit of 62 be reduced to 60 without any concern. A case could also be made that any further hackney carriage licences not renewed could also be extinguished, which might encourage compliance, and may encourage those choosing to remain in the industry by giving them marginally increased trade opportunities.'
Alternative Options Considered and Reasons for Rejection
The Council could have taken the option to do nothing, however, in the event of a challenge to a decision to refuse a licence, the Council would have had to prove that they had been reasonably satisfied that there was no significant unmet demand.
Resolved (1) That the report by LSVA be noted; and
(2) That the policy of restricting the number of hackney carriage licences issued be maintained but the current limit of Hackney Carriage licences be reduced to 59 from 62.
- Quantity Restrictions - Hackney carriage Vehicles, item 239. PDF 98 KB
- Quantity Restrictions - Appendix 2 Rank observation hours, item 239. PDF 237 KB
- Quantity Restrictions - Appendix 3 Rank observations detailed results, item 239. PDF 459 KB
- Quantity Restrictions - Appendix 4 On Street Interviews, item 239. PDF 232 KB
- Quantity Restrictions - Customer_First_Analysis, item 239. PDF 182 KB
- LVSA Hyndburn 2018 Final Report, item 239. PDF 677 KB