GLASGOW is driving ahead with plans to potentially cap the number of private hire cars in the city.
The Licensing and Regulatory Committee at Glasgow City Council agreed to commission an independent expert to research the “drdprovision, use and demand for the services of private hire cars” across the city.
Changes to the law by the Scottish Government make council’s free to cap the number of private hire vehicles operating within their boundaries.
Councillor Alex Wilson, convener of the committee, said: “I welcome the fact that the Scottish Government is looking into guidance for local authorities to cap private hire car numbers and to give us a robust policy where we can actually take this forward.”
Last May, amendments to the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 made by the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 came into effect.
They allowed licensing authorities to refuse to grant an application for a private hire car licence on grounds of over provision.
Councillors were told there are 4,820 private hire cars registered and 3,527 licenses in Glasgow at the committee meeting on Thursday.
Unite’s cab section is in favour of the legislation and has in the past demanded the council put its foot down on bringing forward the appointment of an independent expert.
The black hackney drivers claim that supply is outstripping demand in the taxi trade, meaning full-time drivers are having to work longer hours just to get by.
The move to appoint an independent expert was actually agreed last November but the council was waiting on “legislative guidence” from the Scottish Government, but that guidence has not yet been published.
Now, councillors have decided to wait no longer and push ahead to procure an independent expert to carry out the substantial audit.
“I do think this would allow an opportunity for Glasgow to lead the way in terms of licensing policy yet again,” said Councillor Rhiannon Spear.
Councillor Robert Connelly supported the council pushing ahead, saying: “As no time scale was given by the Scottish Government, it could take quite a long time.”