100 more taxis for Brighton and Hove's streets?

More than 100 extra taxis could hit the streets of Brighton and Hove in a bid to increase the number carrying disabled people.

Taxi firms have called the move “unsustainable” and urged Brighton and Hove City Council to maintain a cap on new cabs.

The council is considering giving licences to all taxis on its 150-strong waiting list.

The move is in response to recommendations made by the Fed Centre for Independent Living, which has called for a 60-40 ratio of taxis which meet the needs of those in electronic wheelchairs.

Currently there are 31 out of 167 which are accessible to people using wheelchairs.

At the current rate of five new plates a year, it would take 35 years to reach the target.

Brighton and Hove is one of about 80 local authorities which limits the number of licences.

The current cap is 545 taxis, with five new licences being issued each May.

A report for a licensing committee meeting on Thursday, which is considering the proposal, reads: “Taxis provide an important means of transport for disabled people and are often the only viable option available.

“Locally, representatives of disabled groups have asked for the continued provision of a mixed fleet, but are keen to increase the percentage of rear-loading wheelchair accessible vehicles to meet the needs of passengers with large powered wheelchairs.”

John Streeter, of Streamline Taxis, said an increase of even 25 extra taxi licences would be unsustainable.

He argued that 90 per cent of disabled users call for a cab rather than go to a taxi rank, but the proposals made no guarantee that the new taxis would be part of a radio circuit which would pick up these phone calls.

Mr Streeter added: “If most of the taxis go downtown to work on the ranks it will not solve the problem.

“The trade cannot take another 25, 30 or 40 cars.”

Mick Hildreth, secretary of the GMB Union Hackney carriage and private hire section, said: “The Brighton and Hove GMB Taxi and Private Hire section are firmly of the view that our industry, both from an ecological and economy viewpoint, cannot tolerate a large influx of Hackney carriages.”

He added that improvements to cabs needed to be continued for wheelchair-using customers.

The council will consider a range of options on Thursday, including increasing the number of licences by five each year and removing the current cap.

Comments (22)

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6:52pm Wed 21 Nov 12

mark by the sea says...

Surely the level for cabs will sort itself out.. It may take a year or so, why limit the number?
Surely the level for cabs will sort itself out.. It may take a year or so, why limit the number? mark by the sea

6:59pm Wed 21 Nov 12

leobrighton says...

Any local resident who regularly passes the station and the East street rank can tell there are already too many taxis in Brighton. This is just about raising more money for the council but will the drivers be able to earn a living?
Any local resident who regularly passes the station and the East street rank can tell there are already too many taxis in Brighton. This is just about raising more money for the council but will the drivers be able to earn a living? leobrighton

7:29pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Cgull says...

Is it asking too much for people in wheelchairs to get a good service from the taxi firms in this City?
Why should they be treated as second class citizens?
Is it asking too much for people in wheelchairs to get a good service from the taxi firms in this City? Why should they be treated as second class citizens? Cgull

7:54pm Wed 21 Nov 12

ruberducker says...

there are enough wav's allready.
only 0.4% of the town are in wheelchairs.paris has only 3 cars for the whole city.
there are enough wav's allready. only 0.4% of the town are in wheelchairs.paris has only 3 cars for the whole city. ruberducker

8:28pm Wed 21 Nov 12

brightonyorkie says...

This is not a taxi problem! This is people phoning for a cab and not getting a private hire.A hackneyis required to serve the ranks and should be available to people who approach, either at a rank or hailing in the street, on demand. There is no unmet demand for Hackneys so sort out the private hire. There are too many Hackneys trying to get on too few ranks already.
This is not a taxi problem! This is people phoning for a cab and not getting a private hire.A hackneyis required to serve the ranks and should be available to people who approach, either at a rank or hailing in the street, on demand. There is no unmet demand for Hackneys so sort out the private hire. There are too many Hackneys trying to get on too few ranks already. brightonyorkie

9:02pm Wed 21 Nov 12

ruberducker says...

maybe the long term idea is that if we supply enough taxi's.we can stop mobility allowance and mobility cars,save money-at the expense of the cab drivers living.
maybe the long term idea is that if we supply enough taxi's.we can stop mobility allowance and mobility cars,save money-at the expense of the cab drivers living. ruberducker

9:54pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Lady Smith says...

Cgull wrote:
Is it asking too much for people in wheelchairs to get a good service from the taxi firms in this City?
Why should they be treated as second class citizens?
Well said!
[quote][p][bold]Cgull[/bold] wrote: Is it asking too much for people in wheelchairs to get a good service from the taxi firms in this City? Why should they be treated as second class citizens?[/p][/quote]Well said! Lady Smith

11:42pm Wed 21 Nov 12

BrightonHoveboy says...

The absolute fools. All the council want is the cash from the licences. Cab drivers are scrabbling for work as it is.
In th four and a half years I last drove a wheelchair cab, I did FOURTEEN wheelchair jobs. FOURTEEN! The FED should realise that cabs are paid for by the owners. Councils just make the rules and take the cash. They are just politically correct lackies.
Give it a few years maximum and the quality of the cabs will go down as no-one will be able to afford to maintain or replace them. Fools
The absolute fools. All the council want is the cash from the licences. Cab drivers are scrabbling for work as it is. In th four and a half years I last drove a wheelchair cab, I did FOURTEEN wheelchair jobs. FOURTEEN! The FED should realise that cabs are paid for by the owners. Councils just make the rules and take the cash. They are just politically correct lackies. Give it a few years maximum and the quality of the cabs will go down as no-one will be able to afford to maintain or replace them. Fools BrightonHoveboy

2:28am Thu 22 Nov 12

Wooton Basset says...

Like everything, turn the people against each other, then collapse the standard of living for everyone. Dont you just love politics...
Like everything, turn the people against each other, then collapse the standard of living for everyone. Dont you just love politics... Wooton Basset

2:51am Thu 22 Nov 12

pinballdave says...

This will sort itself out without any intervention from the council over the next few years.

The traditional side loading wheelchair accessible cabs (london taxis and 6+ seater van conversions) are very expensive to buy and run. The smaller rear loading accessible taxis are a fair bit cheaper to buy, and more importantly have significantly better fuel consumption figures.

For these reasons alone many cab drivers are replacing their larger vehicles with these smaller more efficient rear loading accessible cars.


I also agree with brightonyorkie that the council should deal with this issue via the private hire companies and radio circuits rather than dumping another 100 hackneys on Brighton's already overcrowded ranks.

For example, I've driven a Brighton plated wheelchair accessible hackney cab that is also on a radio circuit for the past four years. For each wheelchair using customer I get from street hails or from the rank, I get 30-40 who have booked in advance via the radio circuit.
This will sort itself out without any intervention from the council over the next few years. The traditional side loading wheelchair accessible cabs (london taxis and 6+ seater van conversions) are very expensive to buy and run. The smaller rear loading accessible taxis are a fair bit cheaper to buy, and more importantly have significantly better fuel consumption figures. For these reasons alone many cab drivers are replacing their larger vehicles with these smaller more efficient rear loading accessible cars. I also agree with brightonyorkie that the council should deal with this issue via the private hire companies and radio circuits rather than dumping another 100 hackneys on Brighton's already overcrowded ranks. For example, I've driven a Brighton plated wheelchair accessible hackney cab that is also on a radio circuit for the past four years. For each wheelchair using customer I get from street hails or from the rank, I get 30-40 who have booked in advance via the radio circuit. pinballdave

6:12am Thu 22 Nov 12

Kate234 says...

There are already too many taxis on the street. It takes about a minute to call one to your house and no time to hail one in the street. I doubt they can be making much money if they are so readily available as it is.

If the council messes around with this service they risk destroying something that works well already.
There are already too many taxis on the street. It takes about a minute to call one to your house and no time to hail one in the street. I doubt they can be making much money if they are so readily available as it is. If the council messes around with this service they risk destroying something that works well already. Kate234

7:10am Thu 22 Nov 12

Mark the cab says...

The answer is not to flood the town with more taxis with all the problems that comes with that.(well documented) .
The council / government should give an incentive to taxi owners to buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle when they replace their taxis which is average every 5 years.
Maybe the govt should re direct mobility money to the taxi trade as it would represent better value.
Private cars used by all of society are left idle for over 90% of their life.
So if people realized what value they get out of owning a car they may use more taxis.
The answer is to encourage more use of current fleet with incentives for owners to operate efficient WAV vehicles & drivers to be more co- operative to wheelchair customers.
The answer is not to flood the town with more taxis with all the problems that comes with that.(well documented) . The council / government should give an incentive to taxi owners to buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle when they replace their taxis which is average every 5 years. Maybe the govt should re direct mobility money to the taxi trade as it would represent better value. Private cars used by all of society are left idle for over 90% of their life. So if people realized what value they get out of owning a car they may use more taxis. The answer is to encourage more use of current fleet with incentives for owners to operate efficient WAV vehicles & drivers to be more co- operative to wheelchair customers. Mark the cab

8:18am Thu 22 Nov 12

Goldenwight says...

Lady Smith wrote:
Cgull wrote:
Is it asking too much for people in wheelchairs to get a good service from the taxi firms in this City?
Why should they be treated as second class citizens?
Well said!
Not only well said, but in line with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act- which requires positive discrimination towards the disabled.

Although as the taxi driver says, wheelchair users are not particularly likely to hail a cab on the street they may well do so at a rank such as by the station. Assuming they are able to get off the train, that is.

I'm unclear, though, how issuing new licences will help- every other Council in the Country seems to have solved this problem by only allowing disabled adapted cars to be plated. Since the working life is only a couple of years they no longer have a problem. But, then, many cities don't have nasty great hills in the middle either!
[quote][p][bold]Lady Smith[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Cgull[/bold] wrote: Is it asking too much for people in wheelchairs to get a good service from the taxi firms in this City? Why should they be treated as second class citizens?[/p][/quote]Well said![/p][/quote]Not only well said, but in line with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act- which requires positive discrimination towards the disabled. Although as the taxi driver says, wheelchair users are not particularly likely to hail a cab on the street they may well do so at a rank such as by the station. Assuming they are able to get off the train, that is. I'm unclear, though, how issuing new licences will help- every other Council in the Country seems to have solved this problem by only allowing disabled adapted cars to be plated. Since the working life is only a couple of years they no longer have a problem. But, then, many cities don't have nasty great hills in the middle either! Goldenwight

9:15am Thu 22 Nov 12

Fairfax Sakes says...

As any Brighton taxi driver will tell ya, there is already a vast overabundance of supply in the city-go and have a look at any taxi rank at any point in the day around the city. At the same time, the council sets pricing levels at a vastly inflated level to compensate for the lack of work the drivers have-last week it cost me £7 to travel 1.5 miles! Of course we don’t need more taxis. Get rid of licences, let the existing ones have more work and reduce the prices which will also encourage more use of them!
As any Brighton taxi driver will tell ya, there is already a vast overabundance of supply in the city-go and have a look at any taxi rank at any point in the day around the city. At the same time, the council sets pricing levels at a vastly inflated level to compensate for the lack of work the drivers have-last week it cost me £7 to travel 1.5 miles! Of course we don’t need more taxis. Get rid of licences, let the existing ones have more work and reduce the prices which will also encourage more use of them! Fairfax Sakes

9:46am Thu 22 Nov 12

bluemonday says...

there are too many taxi's and obviously not enough work for all of them considering how many sit around for ages doing nothing(that's not a slur on taxi drivers)why not encourage the present taxi drivers to update there vehicles to accomodate wheelchairs,at a reduced rent as too ofset the cost
there are too many taxi's and obviously not enough work for all of them considering how many sit around for ages doing nothing(that's not a slur on taxi drivers)why not encourage the present taxi drivers to update there vehicles to accomodate wheelchairs,at a reduced rent as too ofset the cost bluemonday

9:47am Thu 22 Nov 12

Cash Cow says...

The point which always seems to be overlooked when anyone discusses providing Wheelchair Access Vehicles is this; for every disabled person in a wheelchair there are hundreds of people, especially the elderly, who although are not actually registered disabled, really struggle to climb into the back of a van, though these people never get taken into consideration. I wonder if anyone from Brighton and Hove Council's sub-licensing committee has ever phoned a taxi company and asked what is the ratio of people who ask for a W.A.V. compared to people who specifically request a saloon car.

Also saloon cars are much more comfortable for the longer journeys, like airport runs. I can remember some years ago coming home from Heathrow Airport with three other adults in a London style FX4, with all the suitcases arranged our feet and sitting facing backwards the journey was awful.

Another issue which seems to be overlooked is the drivers unwillingness to actually do "wheelchair work". Mostly, W.A.V.s can carry five, six, seven or more passengers which allows the drivers to operate at meter and a half, so some drivers, I am not saying all, having been issued a Hackney Carriage plate, prefer to pick up half a dozens students, run them into town, then rush back to wherever a pick up a half a dozen more, instead of messing about getting the ramps out etc, this is the real reason the disabled are not getting a fair service, it's called "having your cake and eating it".
The point which always seems to be overlooked when anyone discusses providing Wheelchair Access Vehicles is this; for every disabled person in a wheelchair there are hundreds of people, especially the elderly, who although are not actually registered disabled, really struggle to climb into the back of a van, though these people never get taken into consideration. I wonder if anyone from Brighton and Hove Council's sub-licensing committee has ever phoned a taxi company and asked what is the ratio of people who ask for a W.A.V. compared to people who specifically request a saloon car. Also saloon cars are much more comfortable for the longer journeys, like airport runs. I can remember some years ago coming home from Heathrow Airport with three other adults in a London style FX4, with all the suitcases arranged our feet and sitting facing backwards the journey was awful. Another issue which seems to be overlooked is the drivers unwillingness to actually do "wheelchair work". Mostly, W.A.V.s can carry five, six, seven or more passengers which allows the drivers to operate at meter and a half, so some drivers, I am not saying all, having been issued a Hackney Carriage plate, prefer to pick up half a dozens students, run them into town, then rush back to wherever a pick up a half a dozen more, instead of messing about getting the ramps out etc, this is the real reason the disabled are not getting a fair service, it's called "having your cake and eating it". Cash Cow

9:59am Thu 22 Nov 12

Joshiman says...

ruberducker wrote:
there are enough wav's allready.
only 0.4% of the town are in wheelchairs.paris has only 3 cars for the whole city.
Not a nice comment.Hope you never have to use one.
[quote][p][bold]ruberducker[/bold] wrote: there are enough wav's allready. only 0.4% of the town are in wheelchairs.paris has only 3 cars for the whole city.[/p][/quote]Not a nice comment.Hope you never have to use one. Joshiman

10:19am Thu 22 Nov 12

banargustrolls says...

Ridiculous - last night they stretched all the way along Surrey St waiting and bibbing to get into Brighton station - there's way too many as it is. And few people use them as they're so expensive.
Ridiculous - last night they stretched all the way along Surrey St waiting and bibbing to get into Brighton station - there's way too many as it is. And few people use them as they're so expensive. banargustrolls

11:31am Thu 22 Nov 12

chilliman says...

I'm surprised nobody has commented that the big increase in taxi numbers would make the council feel justified in raising parking rates again, since more people could use a taxi instead of their car.
I'm surprised nobody has commented that the big increase in taxi numbers would make the council feel justified in raising parking rates again, since more people could use a taxi instead of their car. chilliman

1:24pm Thu 22 Nov 12

ruberducker says...

Joshiman wrote:
ruberducker wrote:
there are enough wav's allready.
only 0.4% of the town are in wheelchairs.paris has only 3 cars for the whole city.
Not a nice comment.Hope you never have to use one.
theese are facts,and i do use a cab everyday.
[quote][p][bold]Joshiman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ruberducker[/bold] wrote: there are enough wav's allready. only 0.4% of the town are in wheelchairs.paris has only 3 cars for the whole city.[/p][/quote]Not a nice comment.Hope you never have to use one.[/p][/quote]theese are facts,and i do use a cab everyday. ruberducker

8:13pm Thu 22 Nov 12

John Steed says...

Love all these comments, yesterday, b'ton station to william st £4.40 the driver, a pleasant chap, return trip £4.40 lady driver, no complaints, saved walking which I could of done, the cars were clean and comfortable, the fares reasonable, i am a driver so I know the cost of running a vehicle, brighton licensing office may want more wheelchair freindly cars but the answer is not more cars there are more than enough hackneys, the answer is replace existing vehicles and either give a grant or a low intrest loan. Worthing granted a plate to any new driver who licensed a wheelchair capable vehicle,nice idea but at the moment cabbies are struggling and private hires more so. Brighton and hove should be proud of their licensed hackneys they have served the city well for as long as i can remember, and if any cabbies remember curly leopard they can guage how long that is.
Love all these comments, yesterday, b'ton station to william st £4.40 the driver, a pleasant chap, return trip £4.40 lady driver, no complaints, saved walking which I could of done, the cars were clean and comfortable, the fares reasonable, i am a driver so I know the cost of running a vehicle, brighton licensing office may want more wheelchair freindly cars but the answer is not more cars there are more than enough hackneys, the answer is replace existing vehicles and either give a grant or a low intrest loan. Worthing granted a plate to any new driver who licensed a wheelchair capable vehicle,nice idea but at the moment cabbies are struggling and private hires more so. Brighton and hove should be proud of their licensed hackneys they have served the city well for as long as i can remember, and if any cabbies remember curly leopard they can guage how long that is. John Steed

4:40pm Tue 27 Nov 12

captainmarvel says...

Once again shoddy journalism,incorrect facts.There arent 31 wheelchair accessible vehicles in the Brighton hackney fleet.There are 167 wheelchair accessible hackneys out of a fleet total of 550.That is 30% of the hackney fleet accept a wheelchair.Would anyone say that is a fair reflection on society? Are nearly 1 in 3 people restricted to a wheelchair? No.Why insist on more plates being issued.This 'article' was sensationalist & wildly incorrect with its facts.It's hardly surprising this tome is in decline with this kind of journalism.
Once again shoddy journalism,incorrect facts.There arent 31 wheelchair accessible vehicles in the Brighton hackney fleet.There are 167 wheelchair accessible hackneys out of a fleet total of 550.That is 30% of the hackney fleet accept a wheelchair.Would anyone say that is a fair reflection on society? Are nearly 1 in 3 people restricted to a wheelchair? No.Why insist on more plates being issued.This 'article' was sensationalist & wildly incorrect with its facts.It's hardly surprising this tome is in decline with this kind of journalism. captainmarvel

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