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2010 - Hackney Carriage Numbers

This consultation concerns the discretion this Authority has to limit the number of Hackney Carriage Vehicles that are licensed locally.


Between 2 August and 17 September the Council as Licensing Authority for Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Services in the Borough undertook a first phase of consultation on whether to remove the previously long standing policy restricting the number of Hackney Carriage Vehicles that will be licensed.


The outcomes of this first phase of consultation can be accessed through the below links.


Responses received via letter/email

Responses received via the Online Form


The Authority is grateful for the comments that have been submitted and appreciates the views submitted.  These have been considered and will be taken into account as this process proceeds.


This second phase of consultation commences on 4 October and concludes on 26 November 2010.  The responses received will then be published on 29 November with a view to final recommendations being issued on 10 December 2010.



At present there are 70 Hackney Carriage Vehicles in the Borough.  These vehicles may use the designated Hackney Carriage Ranks and the public may ‘flag’ them down in the street.  By comparison there are over 500 Private Hire Vehicles.  This second type of licensed vehicle must be booked through a Private Hire Operator.


The primary statute concerning Hackney Carriages is the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 (as amended).  In respect of the number of Hackney Carriages that are licensed the relevant provision is Section 37 of the 1847 Act (amended by Section 16 of the Transport Act 1985).  This states that:


“… the grant of a hackney carriage licence may be refused, for the purpose of limiting the number of hackney carriages … if, but only if, the person authorised to grant licences is satisfied that there is no significant demand for the services of hackney carriages … which is unmet.”


The Authority has limited the number of Hackney Carriages but has a policy of issuing up to 10 additional licences each year.  This Policy was suspended in December 2008 for a period of 12 months and no additional hackney carriage licences have been granted since then following the banking crisis.  This has not precluded any individual applying for a Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence.  If such an application were received it would need to be judged against the provision of Section 37 of the 1847 Act.


It should be noted that no similar discretion exists for Private Hire Vehicles.  As such the market has no similar entry restrictions and operates with new people seeking licences and others leaving the business.  The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) undertook a study of the Hackney Carriage market in 2002 and the resulting recommendation was to remove the limit on numbers of Hackney Carriages.


In this first phase of consultation, the Authority is particularly interested in general comments on what should be expected of those seeking licences as Private Hire Drivers and Operators and Hackney Carriage Drivers.


Note that some of the information on this page may no longer be an accurate reflection of the Authority's current position. For current policies please click here.

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