Edinburgh Council accused of 'staggering hypocrisy' as petition launched calling for cap on private hire licences

Cab drivers in the Capital are calling on the council to cap the number of private hire licences given out in order to help reduce congestion and reduce harmful emissions.

Thursday, 12th September 2019, 6:04 pm
A black cab. Pic: TSPL/Paul Parke

The petition from the Edinburgh Cab Section of the Unite union accuses Edinburgh Council's of "staggering" hypocrisy as numbers of private hire licences given out continues to increase.

It also calls for an over-provision survey to take place in order to ascertain whether there are too many private hire licences.

There are around 2,500 private hire vehicles and around 1,500 traditional black cabs.

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A black cab. Pic: TSPL/Paul Parke

Glasgow City Council were the first local authority to introduce a cap on private hire licences in April this year with the aim to ensure work was not spread too thinly across the city.

Council bosses in the Capital state they are waiting for guidelines from the government as to whether they can act.

Cab section chairman Scott Blair said the union's concerns were about rising congestion in the city which they believe can only be tackled effectively if private hire numbers are reduced or capped.

He said: "There are at least 1,800 cars added to the streets of Edinburgh which is a huge amount when we are already have over-congestion.

"We do want a cap but we are not asking the council to set a cap at whatever level we want, it has to be independent but we do want it looked at. The council are wanting to clean up the air and we want to help them with that as well.

"It is for our health benefit to keep emissions down as well. The streets are our office."

Licensing convener Catherine Fullerton said there was not a way of calculating the maximum or minimum number of private hire vehicles and until that changed, a decision will not be made.

She said: "Our Licensing Service is responsible for the licensing of both taxi and private hire vehicles. All vehicles are tested annually for mechanical road worthiness, pollutants and safety standards in accordance with our Licence conditions and Emissions and Age Policy.

“To date there has been no means under which a maximum or minimum number of private hire vehicles could be calculated therefore when this has been established a decision will be made.”