Councillors with the power to grant taxi licences in Helensburgh have been told there is no significant demand for more taxis in the town.

A report to Argyll and Bute’s planning, protective services and licensing (PPSL) committee says there is no over-provision of taxis or private hire cars anywhere in Helensburgh and Lomond.

But the report does identify “consistent and persistent passenger waiting” at the town’s two taxi ranks, in East Princes Street and West Clyde Street, on Friday and Saturday nights as “a cause for some concern”.

The document, prepared by Licensed Vehicle Surveys and Assessment (LVSA), also says there is some demand for additional wheelchair accessible vehicles in the area.

And it says that even though there is “no significant unmet demand” for either taxis or private hire cars in Helensburgh, that should not be taken as ruling out the possibility of the committee granting new licences in the area in future.

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The report was due to be considered by the PPSL committee on Wednesday, as this issue of the Advertiser went to press.

LVSA’s findings were based on surveys carried out in Helensburgh in August.

It stated: “On the basis of the evidence gathered, our key conclusion is that there is no evidence of unmet demand for the services of taxis either patent or latent which is significant at this point in time in the Helensburgh and Lomond licensing zone.

“There is no overprovision of private hire cars in any locality within the Helensburgh and Lomond zone.

“Whilst taxis serviced the demand at taxi ranks adequately most of the time, there was a shortfall of provision during periods of peak demand on Friday and Saturday nights.

“This was not sufficient to classify the level of unmet demand overall as significant. However, this consistent and persistent passenger waiting is a cause for some concern.

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“It is recommended that measures which address the shortfall in provision during peak demand periods are considered. These may be measures which encourage more of the existing drivers to work during these periods, or it may be appropriate to consider granting additional licences to vehicles which are likely to work during these periods.”

“There are no guarantees that any applicant for a new licence will operate during the peak demand periods, however, additional provision in general may encourage others to seek the fares available on Friday and Saturday nights.

"There appears to be some demand for more wheelchair accessible vehicles. The common practice is for wheelchair accessible vehicles to be pre-booked, so any new private hire cars or taxis which are wheelchair accessible, would be likely to attract some additional demand for hire.

"Wheelchair accessible vehicles could be provided as a replacement of an existing saloon car vehicle, or as a new vehicle licence issued by the council."

LVSA reached similar conclusions about overall demand levels in the council’s three other administrative areas – Bute and Cowal, Oban, Lorn and the Isles, and Mid Argyll, Kintyre and Islay.

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