Updated: May 8, 2022
Wiltshire Council are looking to merge four taxi licensing areas into one in a bid to help save cabbie money and expand on the areas they can pick up fares.
The council are now seeking feedback from taxi drivers and the general public on the proposals to change the county's taxi licensing zones.
At present, the council area operates four taxi licensing zones - north, south, east and west - and it is proposing to change this to one single licensing zone that covers the whole Wiltshire Council area.
Each zone represents an area that a taxi can accept fares in - for example, a taxi in Chippenham would be licensed to the north area, which means they could only take fares in this area. If the licensing area is changed to one council-wide zone, that taxi operator could then accept fares in any part of the Wiltshire Council authority area.
The council say the changes could save drivers money and reduce fuel consumption, as if they were dropping off in one area outside of their current zone, they wouldn't have to travel back to their original area to pick up a new fare, as they currently do. This would be particularly useful for taxi drivers that take and collect school pupils, as they could take the pupils to school, work for the day in the same area if they wish, before collecting the pupils at the end of the school day.
As part of the current system of four licensing zones, the council also has to keep four different workshops open in each of the zone areas to inspect the vehicles. If the proposals go ahead, some of these workshops could be utilised to support other operations.
The consultation on the proposals began Friday 6 May and is open until 5pm Friday 10 June. People can have their say on a number of options, including keeping the licensing zones as they currently are, moving to a single zone, or moving to two zones - north and south. People can also share their views about the proposals.
Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “The four taxi licensing zones are a legacy from before we turned into a unitary council in 2009, and while these zones have worked well in the past, the proposed single zone will give taxi drivers more opportunities to operate throughout the county and enable us to develop our workshops to support other services.
“As stated in our business plan, we want our local economy to continue to thrive, supported by a skilled workforce, and these proposals will help taxi drivers to take more fares in more areas of the county. This proposed change will also help reduce carbon emissions, as taxis will be able to have fewer journeys without passengers.
“We recognise that some taxi operators may be concerned that more vehicles in an area may cause an oversupply of taxis and in turn a reduction in passengers, but we feel this competition will settle down based on the supply and demand. However, it's really important that we receive all feedback on these proposals and what they may mean for taxi operators, so that we can make an informed decision on the licensing zones.
“I'd encourage all taxi operators and anyone with an interest in the industry to let us know their views as part of the consultation process before the closing date of 10 June.”
To take part in the consultation, and to find out more, people can go to www.wiltshire.gov.uk/licences-permits-transport.