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Wolverhampton unsurprisingly revealed as city with most taxi and PHV drivers, but where else after that?

In a study conducted by taxi and private hire specialist Zego, Wolverhampton unsurprisingly emerged as the city with the highest concentration of licensed taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) per capita in England and Wales.

Drawing on data from the Department for Transport, the analysis revealed that Wolverhampton boasts an unprecedented 85.3 licensed taxis and PHVs per 1,000 people, dwarfing figures from other cities.

The city's figures are primarily driven by its private hire vehicles, with a staggering 84.7 licensed PHVs per 1,000 residents compared to just 0.6 taxis. This represents a 580% increase over the city in second place, highlighting Wolverhampton's unique position in the transport sector.

Wolverhampton has become a focal point in the long-running debate surrounding the UK's cross-border licensing rules for taxis and PHVs. This controversy mainly stems from the city council's liberal approach to licensing PHVs, which has led to an influx of applications from drivers outside of the local area.

Under current UK law, once licensed by any local authority, taxis and PHVs can operate nationally, allowing them to pick up fares in areas where they are not licensed, provided the bookings are pre-arranged through an operator licensed in the same area as the driver. This regulatory framework, known as "cross-border hiring", is intended to provide flexibility in the private hire industry but has raised concerns about regulation and enforcement disparities between different regions.

Trailing significantly behind, Newcastle secured the second spot with 12.4 licensed taxis and PHVs per 1,000 inhabitants. The breakdown includes 10.5 PHVs and 1.9 taxis per 1,000 people, indicating a lesser but still notable reliance on private hire.

London, with its vast population of 8.8 million, ranked third. The capital has 11.9 licensed taxis and PHVs per 1,000 people, composed of 10.2 PHVs and 1.7 taxis. Despite its size, London's per capita figures remain much lower than Wolverhampton's.

Newport made the list as the fourth ranking city and the only Welsh city in the top ten, with 8.1 licensed vehicles per 1,000 people. Bradford rounded out the top five, with 7.9 vehicles per 1,000, showing a strong presence of private hire vehicles at 7.5 per 1,000 people.

A spokesperson for Zego said:  “The results reveal that there is a much greater availability of PHVs in the vast majority of cities in England and Wales, than equivalent taxis when accounting for each city’s population. 


“The difference between private hire vehicles and taxis is often misunderstood however, with many people assuming that the two terms are interchangeable. In reality, private hire vehicles are pre-booked through a licensed operator or ride-hailing app, such as Uber or Bolt, with fares agreed in advance. Taxis on the other hand typically use metered pricing set by the local council and can be flagged down by the customer."


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