Black cab refusal causes legal row
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