The number of licensed taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers in England has seen a modest increase, with a notable rise in licences attributed to Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs) witnessed over the past year, according to recent data released by the licensing authorities.
As of 2023, there were a total of 346,300 driver licences in England, reflecting a significant increase of 16,300 (4.9%) compared to the previous year. Among these licences, 67% were exclusively for PHVs, 11% were solely for taxis, and 21% were dual licences, permitting drivers to operate both taxis and PHVs.
Interestingly, the regional analysis revealed distinct variations in the changes observed between 2022 and 2023. The West Midlands emerged as the region with the highest increase, experiencing a notable surge of 28.0%. This substantial rise can predominantly be attributed to a significant increase in licensed drivers in Wolverhampton.
In contrast, most other regions demonstrated more moderate fluctuations, with increases or decreases of less than 5% in licensed driver numbers. These variations could be attributed to local factors, such as changes in demand for transportation services and shifts in regional policies.
The surge in PHV-only licences indicates a growing trend for ride-hailing, as more drivers opt for cheaper and easier private hire licensing requirements rather than traditional taxi offerings.
The dual licences category, allowing drivers to operate both taxis and PHVs, reflects the regional need for versatile options in the industry. This allows drivers to diversify their earnings potential based on the current demand and the vehicles available.