The number of taxis serving communities in Richmondshire is to be increased by 12 in the near future, from 65 to 77 vehicles.
And in a move that heralds good news for passengers with mobility issues, applications for these 12 new licences will only be accepted where the vehicle is fully accessible - and has the facility to carry wheelchair-bound passengers if required to do so.
Councillors made their decision after hearing the results of recent widespread consultation with local residents, visitors and taxi drivers. The new licences will be available once the policy underpinning their issue and how they are allocated is agreed at a future meeting of the Licensing Committee.
The council has to date operated a policy of restricting the number of Hackney Carriage vehicle licences it issues - but this is a discretionary power and it is free to remove any limits that are in place. Last year it decided to look at the issue and consult on increasing the number of licences, or to allow an unlimited number of licences to be issued.
“This is a very important issue, both for the taxi trade and the travelling public,” said Councillor Jill McMullon, Chairwoman of the Licensing Committee.
“It was essential that councillors took a clear view on the way forward, considering all the options open.
“We have come forward with a ‘win-win’ solution, where the service for disabled users will be much improved, and the new licences will allow us to try to increase taxi provision in the remoter parts of our district – two key issues which our consultation with residents picked up on.
“They will also provide an opportunity for new businesses to be established within the taxi trade at a time when the local economy could do with a boost.”
For more information please contact Philip Mepham, Environmental Services Manager for Hambleton and Richmondshire District Councils.