Killjoy cabbies complain to Edinburgh Council over private hire boss’s £92k number plate

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KILLJOY cabbies have complained to the council after a cheeky private hire boss bought the number plate TAX1.

The Evening News reported last week how Capital Cars boss Stephen Rose forked out £92,000 for the registration – costing more than the Tesla it sits on.

Edinburgh taxi company Capital Cars has forked out �130,000 on personalised number plates, for two new electric Teslas, TAXI and TAXI5, with TAXI plate worth more than the car it sits on.

Edinburgh taxi company Capital Cars has forked out �130,000 on personalised number plates, for two new electric Teslas, TAXI and TAXI5, with TAXI plate worth more than the car it sits on.

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But now taxi firm bosses have questioned whether the plate breaches regulations by suggesting the car can pick fares up off the street like black cabs.

West End-based City Cabs tweeted: “Breach of licensing conditions. Would love to know why Edinburgh City Council allowed this to 
happen?”

The firm has written to the council asking whether the plate breaches private hire licence regulations.

They rule out: “the word “cab”, “taxi” or “for hire” or any other word or words which might give the impression that the Licensed Vehicle is available to pick up fares from the street.”

But local authority licensing chiefs said those rules relate to signs on the side of cars rather than registration plates which are issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Gorgie-based Capital Cars boss Stephen Rose shelled out on two personalised number plates worth a combined £130,000.

“We see it as a long-term investment,” said his personal assistant Elaine Lamb. “People are definitely talking about it and it’s great for business.”

The two plates were picked up at an auction down south – TAX15 for £38,000 and TAX1 for an eye-watering £92,000, including insurance.

Elaine joked: “It’s a bit tongue in cheek as well because we’re a private hire firm rather than taxis.”

The two Teslas are now available by special request and are already proving a hit with punters – and the number plates are seen as a smart investment as their value will increase over the years.

“They’re really good,” said Elaine. “I’m a real petrol-head but even I’m a convert. They’ve got a range of 250 miles so we’ll be doing tours in them.”

One of Edinburgh’s largest private hire firms, Capital Cars was liquidated five years ago, owing around £300,000 to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

A winding-up order was lodged for the firm over unpaid VAT but the jobs of 25 staff and 350 self-employed drivers were secured after a phoenix 
company bought the assets of the collapsed firm.

Seven Sevens Cars took control of the private hire firm and retained the trading name.

Licensing sub-committee convener, Councillor Catherine Fullerton, said: “Any private hire car or taxi is required to display its vehicle registration number, issued by DVLA, on plates attached to the vehicle.

“The council has no power to regulate which registration number is used and the conditions of licence are not intended to do that.”

andy.shipley@edinburghnews.com