Black cab re­fusal causes le­gal row

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HAL­TON coun­cil is re­fus­ing to al­low any more black cabs on in the bor­ough. As­pir­ing Hack­ney car­riage driv­ers in Hal­ton are em­broiled in a bit­ter long­stand­ing row with their lo­cal au­thor­ity, over a rule that lim­its the num­ber of cabs in the bor­ough.

The row came to a head at Run­corn Town Hall last Wed­nes­day night when an ap­pli­ca­tion to grant 15 Hack­ney Car­riage li­cences was re­fused by the reg­u­la­tory com­mit­tee.

Many driv­ers op­er­at­ing in nearby ar­eas such as Frod­sham are des­per­ate to op­er­ate as Hack­ney cab driv­ers in Hal­ton – but have been re­fused per­mis­sion to do so on sev­eral oc­ca­sions.

The au­thor­ity said only 267 black cabs are al­lowed in the area.

How­ever it is un­clear on what pol­icy the Hack­ney y car­riage limit is based – and where the 267 fig­ure has s come from.

Mys­tery sur­rounds the source of the 267 limit which was the sub­ject of tense de­bate at the meet­ing.

The coun­cil said that it is based on an ‘un­met de­mand’ sur­vey from decades ago, although no record of this could be pro­duced ● at the meet­ing.

The meet­ing saw cab driv­ers ar­gue fiercely that more black cabs were needed to meet the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of the bor­ough, which has in­creased by over 30,000 since 1985, when the last un­met de­mand sur­vey was ● thought to have been car­ried out.

Driv­ers also ar­gued that a lim­ited num­ber of wheel­chair ac­ces­si­ble ve­hi­cles in the bor­ough had led to cases of dis­abled peo­ple be­ing stranded, and said grant­ing more hack­ney li­cences would al­le­vi­ate this prob­lem.

There are, at most, be­tween 19 and 21 taxis equipped to take wheel­chair users in Hal­ton – a prob­lem which Sure Start cen­tre made li­cens­ing of­fi­cers aware of, the reg­u­la­tory com­mit­tee heard.

On Wed­nes­day, the coun­cil’s le­gal ad­vi­sor John Tully said that while the De­part­ment For Trans­port ad­vised con­duct­ing a new un­met de­mand sur­vey every three to five years, there was no le­gal re­quire­ment to do so.

Although no ev­i­dence of the his­toric sur­vey was pro­duced, he asked com­mit­tee mem­bers to take its re­sults to be true.

Cab driv­ers are now hop­ing to take their ap­peal to the courts.

A le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive on be­half of Frod­sham taxi driver John Roberts said: “We have got this pol­icy that you can’t see, based on a sur­vey that we can’t see. It’s de­lib­er­ately foggy in terms of de­tail.”

John Roberts added: “I feel let down but this has opened a much big­ger door for me. Now I can take my ap­peal to the court.”

Hack­ney car­riages are lim­ited to 267 in Hal­ton

Run­corn Town Hall

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