THE first black cab in a south Cumbrian town for around 20 years has hit the road – and its owner is hoping it can spark a new era for taxi services in the area.
The driver, Charlie Buck, of Ferry Road, Barrow, will be picking up customers in the area’s only registered hackney carriage.
He hopes that other taxi drivers will follow suit, and that people in the community will get to experience what he says are the many benefits of a hackney carriage.
Mr Buck said: “I hope other people will get them as I think it is better.
“The reason behind this is that I want everyone to be able to have one. The more of them the merrier.”
“I don’t want to be the only person to have one and I would like to see the number of them expand.”
Supporters of hackney carriages say they offer a number of advantages including being able to accommodate more users, easier disabled access and a secure position in the front seat for the driver.
Mr Buck gained his licence for the carriage around two weeks ago following discussions with councillors.
Speaking about how important easy disabled access is for customers, Mr Buck added: “It is very important. The advantages are the disabled access and I think that it is more comfortable for passengers, it is a better idea I think.
“The more people who get hackney carriages, the more carriages there are going to be which is better.”
Unlike private hire vehicles, hackney carriages can be hailed down by customers instead of having to pre-book them in advance.
Barrow Borough Council, as the licensing authority for hackney carriages, has a legal duty to commission independent periodic surveys of unmet demand for hackney carriages.
The last of these surveys, conducted by Vector Transport Consultancy, was considered at a meeting of the licensing regulatory committee on November 12 last year.