No limit on number of cabs in Chichester

A POSSIBLE cap on the number of cabs operating in the Chichester district has been rejected by councillors.

The district’s licensing and enforcement committee unanimously rejected a proposal that a survey should be carried out with licensed hackney carriage operators on the idea of restricting numbers.

Members were told the district council had never limited the number of licences, and there were currently 57.

Some existing licence holders had asked for numbers to be restricted to the present level. The committee heard estimates of the cost of a survey ranging from £5,000 to £12,000.

Cllr Brian Weekes said a cap was unnecessary. “Surely we know whether we have too many on the rank – it is an unnecessary expense to have a survey,” he added. “We should rely on this committee to decide whether there are too many drivers on the ranks.”

Cllr Graeme Barrett said with the potential reduction in bus services, there might be a need for more taxis and Cllr Peter Budge said natural selection made the number of cabs on the road right. “It is going too far to cap someone else’s livelihood,” he added.

Cllr Henry Potter said the number of cabs was self-regulatory to some extent.

“If there is a living to be made out there, people will want to have a taxi,” he said.

Senior technical officer Ian Smith said the number of licences had been slowly increasing in recent years, to the present level of 57.

“The slice of the cake has been getting smaller and smaller for existing drivers, who are having to work longer hours to get the same income,” he said.