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Cabbie calls for cap on licences

PUBLISHED: 17:05 13 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:41 23 August 2010

ANXIOUS: Bruce Parmenter is worried about the number of taxi driver’s in the borough.

ANXIOUS: Bruce Parmenter is worried about the number of taxi driver's in the borough.

A TAXI driver is demanding caps on the number of licences issued to cabbies, claiming increasing numbers are affecting wages and working hours. Bruce Parmenter, of York Road, Gravesend, a taxi driver for more than 10 years, wants Gravesham Borough Counci

A TAXI driver is demanding caps on the number of licences issued to cabbies, claiming increasing numbers are affecting wages and working hours.

Bruce Parmenter, of York Road, Gravesend, a taxi driver for more than 10 years, wants Gravesham Borough Council to limit the number being issued.

He says there are too many taxis operating in Gravesham, which means he is now working more hours a week than ever before, but earning less money.

Mr Parmenter said: "This is a serious situation. I am not struggling to live yet, but if things carry on the way they are now, then I will start to have problems.

"In Gravesham we are seeing day drivers working into the evening and evening drivers starting work in the afternoon.

"Every new plate issued is cutting the wages of all drivers and increasing the hours they work, which will have an affect on them and their passenger's safety.

"There are more than 180 licences issued in the borough, and there is not the work available anymore. The economic climate has had an affect, but it is a combination of that and the number of taxis that are out there now that is really affecting drivers."

Mr Parmenter said that meter readings last month revealed he would often spend seven hours of work unpaid, with just two hours paid a day.

He added: "This is clear evidence that there are far too many taxis in Gravesham and the numbers need to be capped.

"On a Friday and Saturday I used to do between 70 and 90 jobs, but now I am lucky if I do 90 jobs a week.

"It is not just me, there are others out there struggling. More needs to be done to help us. If they don't cap the number of licences forever, then at least until we get through this recession."

He has forwarded his working pattern to Gravesham Borough Council to prove his claims.

A council spokesperson said: "The number of taxi licences can only be limited if there is an independent survey which shows a need to do so - that is that supply outstrips demand - and such a survey will cost between £10,000 and £15,000. The council has said previously it will consider capping licences if the taxi drivers will fund such a survey.

"Such restrictions only apply to Hackney Carriages not private hire (where there is no provision to limit numbers).

"This question was considered in the discussions and consultations on the recent taxi policy and a restriction at this time was not proposed."

ed.riley@archant.co.uk

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