LICENSING bosses have lifted a cap on the number of hackney carriages taxis that can operate in Barrow.

Previously Barrow Borough Council limited the number of licences that could be given out to 120.

Hackney taxis can pick passengers up from off the street rather than having to be pre-booked.

At a recent meeting of the council licensing regulatory committee, members agreed to remove the cap on the limit of Hackney carriage vehicles.

The council said the decision could increase the supply and choice of taxis and shorten waiting times for passengers.

Members also said there would be greater demand for ‘black cab’ taxis with an increase in BAE contractors in the town.

They were advised that removing the restrictions on the number of licences would affect taxi drivers’ ability to transfer Hackney carriage licences to other vehicles for a fee.

Advice from the Office of Fair Trading, which conducted a market study into taxi licensing regulation, said where quantity restrictions were maintained by local authorities, it limited the availability of taxis, lowered the quality of service and suggested restrictions should be lifted.

Taxi drivers expressed concern at the changes at a recent meeting of the Furness Taxi Trade Association.

Bob Mullen, secretary of the group, said: “Nobody knew about it until they did it and nobody is pleased by it.

“It would benefit some people who wanted the plates but didn’t want to pay for them because you could transfer them to another driver for anything up to £1,000.

“This would take £1,000 out of the pockets of drivers because the transfer value is gone.”

He said he was concerned about overcrowding at a ‘very, very poor provision of taxi ranks’.

Councillors had also proposed plans to force all taxis to be wheelchair accessible, but this was not agreed upon at the meeting.

Instead, committee members resolved to create a working group of councillors, council officers and members of the taxi trade to discuss disability provision further.

Ubaro, a mobile app similar to Uber, recently launched in Barrow using licensed drivers.

The team behind the creation took inspiration from another of their ventures, the Barrow Eats food ordering app.