From BBC NEWS – Derby
Taxi drivers in Derby have urged the city council to put a cap on the number of new licences it gives out.
The Derby Area Taxi Drivers Association said its members were having to work longer hours because there were too many taxis for a city of Derby’s size.
It estimated there were 400 hackney carriage-style taxis and more than 1,000 private hire cars.
Derby City Council said limiting the number of licences could lead to horse-trading between drivers.
Javed Khan, chairman of the association, said the large numbers of taxis in the city meant drivers were having to stay out longer to earn a living wage.
‘Mouths to feed’
He said: “The council’s policy is quantity over quality. We’re not a city like London where people walk around hailing taxis.
“Our working hours are a lot longer now because we’re not taking as much money as we used to.
“We’ve all got mortgages to pay and some of us have young families and mouths to feed.”
Mr Javed said the council should also provide more taxi ranks as driving around looking for fares was expensive and bad for the environment.
Derby City Council’s Chris Poulter said: “This has been considered on a number of occasions and the conclusion we’ve come to is that if people meet the criteria for a taxi and they’ve got a reasonable vehicle then we give them a licence.
“In other cities they’ve put a limit on the number of taxis they have but it’s created a problem.
“The licence itself becomes of value and unscrupulous drivers have, on occasion, got a number of licences and sold them on.
“It’s supply and demand. If there aren’t enough customers then the number of taxi drivers will moderate itself.”
Mr Poulter said the recent introduction of taxi marshals to organise queues of people into taxis around the city had been a great success.