Taxi boss: ‘Cap number of cabs’

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A TAXI driver fears he and other small companies could be driven out of business if a cap isn’t placed on the number of cabs allowed to operate.

Norman Parish, of Spalding-based A-Team Taxis, says he could be forced to sell his taxi, which cost him more than £30,000, because there are just not enough fares in Spalding to go round.

He claims there are currently almost 40 taxis operating around the Spalding area, which he says is far too many as he can often wait three hours between passengers and then take just a £5 fare.

Mr Parish had hoped South Holland District Council’s would place a limit on the number of licenses it issues for Hackney carriages, but a report to the licensing committee next Wednesday is recommending that a cap is not introduced as it would lead to a “closed market” and could lead to poorer customer services and higher prices.

Committee members will be advised to “let market forces prevail”, even though Mr Parish believes this will mean a number of independent taxi firms being put out of business.

He said: “This could mean that I will have to sell my taxi and set myself up doing private hire as it is just not financially viable to carry on.

“There are far too many taxis and it can mean that on a weekday I make just £30, but it costs £50 a day to put the taxi out on the road.

“Sometimes I have been left waiting in a taxi rank for three hours without a fare, only to get one for just £5.

“That obviously isn’t enough for three hours’ work.

“Times are already hard because of the economic situation and unless a cap is put on the number of licenses for taxis, some will definitely go under.

“It will almost certainly be the small independent taxi firms who are hit the hardest.”

Mr Parish had wanted a limit of 30 to 35 licensed taxis, but said the number is already verging on 40 and will just continue to go up and up.

He refutes the claim that creating a closed market would adversely affect passengers, saying the opposite is true.

He said: “Taxi drivers do not want fares to go up as that affects everyone, but if there are too many taxis we are not making enough to make a living.

“If there were fewer taxis we could charge lower fares and still make a living.”