Northern Ireland

Number of licensed taxis in Northern Ireland at 10-year low

Taxi signs
Image caption The downward trend may be due to changes to the taxi driver test introduced in 2014

The number of licensed taxis on Northern Ireland's roads has reached its lowest level in 10 years.

New official figures show that at the end of March, there were 8,761 licensed taxi vehicles.

That is down by 2% compared to the same time last year, and by nearly 7% compared to three years ago.

The downward trend may be due to changes in the taxi driver test introduced in 2014.

The figures, from the Department for Infrastructure, show an even sharper fall in the number of licensed taxi drivers.

The number of taxi driver licences in force at the end of March was 10,268, down 9% year-on-year.

Five years ago there were more than 15,000 licensed drivers.

"This reduction may have been exacerbated by the introduction of a new taxi driver theory and practical driving test, which was introduced on 31 October 2014," the Department for Infrastructure said.

The figures also point to consolidation in the taxi industry, with the number of operator licences continuing to fall.

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