Friday, 28 August 2009

Taxi numbers swell - slightly

This morning the Regulatory Committee of Edinburgh Council agreed to allow an increase of 30 in the number of black cabs.

Here are some taxi numbers:
  • there are currently 1266 black cabs licensed
  • in addition there are 815 private hire taxis (not black cabs and not allowed to pick up on the streets; also cheaper)
  • 3581 black cab drivers are licensed
  • 1630 private hire drivers are licensed
  • 4 pricing tariffs - details can be found here
  • 1 black cab for every 370 residents of Edinburgh
Edinburgh caps the number of black taxis allowed. It is only permitted to do this if it can prove there is 'no significant unmet demand'. Consequently, consultants are engaged to survey and report on whether demand is met. This leads to complicated surveys, questionaires, analysis and no little added costs and, as at the regulatory committee today, arcane and complex arguments involving lawyers and academics and other 'experts'. Given the uncertainty and imprecision of proving there is 'no significant unmet demand', the process is little short of a farce.

Another triumph of process over common sense in local government!

Aberdeen, Birmingham, Dundee and Bristol are amongst the cities which do not control the number of black taxis. Edinburgh should join them.

Local authorities do control maximum prices, taxi cab standards and carry out driver checks.

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