City council to cap taxi numbers

Tonicha Upham 4 February 2015

Cambridge City Council made the decision last week to place a cap on the number of taxis licensed to operate in Cambridge, for the first time since 2001.

As of 26 January, the maximum number of taxis which will be permitted to operate in the city is 317.

The decision was supported by evidence provided by surveys conducted in November and December 2014, the findings of which demonstrated that demand for taxis did not generally exceed that which could be provided for by hackney carriages currently operating in Cambridge.

However, one undergraduate student expressed concerns about this: "At peak times it can be difficult to get a taxi quickly, the waits can be quite long." The City Council has not confirmed that this decision will see a reduction in the number of taxis in the city, but hopes that the scheme will bring significant benefits, primarily the reduction of pressure on streets and taxi ranks.

Councillor Jeremy Benstead, Chair of Licensing Committee, highlighted the importance of the move in this respect, commenting: "Cambridge has seen significant rise in the number of taxis in the last few years, which has led to some problems due to limited taxi rank space in the city.

"By limiting licences we can better tackle existing problems and help provide an even better service for residents and visitors to the city." This move to reduce the pressure on Cambridge’s streets created by high numbers of vehicles comes in the same week as suggestions that Boris Bikes could be introduced in the city.

The City Council also claimed that the Licensing Committee’s decision to impose a cap on numbers would reduce the hours worked by taxi drivers, contributing to safer streets, and would allow greater cooperation between the council and drivers in order to raise standards.

To become a taxi driver in Cambridge you must have held a full UK or EC driving license for a minimum of one year and pass medical and knowledge tests. This applies to both private hire and hackney carriage vehicles.