BARNSLEY Council will not increase the limit on the number of Hackney taxis allowed in the town despite there being an ‘unmet demand’, a report has revealed.

Each year, the council undertakes a demand survey to accurately assess the availability of taxis in the town centre.

There are currently 67 Hackney taxis in Barnsley though the report states that despite there being a demand for more, the cap will not be raised.

A survey of the demand was carried out in September, with key stakeholders contacted and questions regarding taxis and private hire vehicles were asked of the general public, the private hire and Hackney carriage drivers, disability groups and local businesses.

A survey of the taxi ranks was carried out, with 24-hour observations and counts on the main ranks from Thursday until Sunday.

The report states: “There is an issue in getting drivers to work during the busiest late night and early morning periods.

“This is recognised by the trade, however, many drivers do not want to work these hours.

“The main reasons given for this were driver safety and dealing with difficult customers.

“Seven per cent said they avoided times there might be drunken, violent or abusive customers.”

Taxi marshals were also asked about their roles and what they see whilst working.

“The overall view of the taxi marshals was that, though there was queuing, particularly with their presence there was no significant risk to public safety and people were generally content to wait and happy to be able to return home,” the report added.

“They did not feel there was any shortage of vehicles on any night.

“The small number of incidents reported, however, confirmed that the presence of the marshals was critical to making the operation work in a safe and secure manner.”

Despite the council admitting there is somewhat of a shortage at night, bosses say an increase in the number of taxis ‘may not make any impact’.

Instead, bosses have decided to not lift the cap, and will instead conduct another survey next year.

“Any increase in Hackney carriage vehicle licences may not make any impact on specific times ie Saturday nights, as we cannot issue licences with restricted usage times,” it added.

“It could simply see a shift from private hire drivers to Hackney vehicles without increasing supply, or potentially lead to over-supply in general, reducing the income to existing drivers and potentially pushing out some of the drivers who do operate on Saturday nights.

“Given there has only recently been a Hackney carriage fare change, which saw an increase of 30p on the flag and 30p on the mile thereafter.

“It also saw the introduction of a super tariff that saw a further increase of 30p on the flag and the mile thereafter after 1am on Sunday mornings.

“Despite there being unmet demand that is significant we would not introduce more Hackney carriages vehicle licences at this time, although other research and a repeated full survey with rank surveys no later than March 2025.”

The council are also set to accept £173,500 from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority as part of a pilot scheme to introduce CCTV in taxis.

It’s hoped this funding will increase both driver and passenger safety, with the hopes that drivers will be more willing to partake in late night shifts.