Not a single private hire car license has been granted in Glasgow since 2020 as the number of taxi drivers renewing their applications fell after Covid.
Following the easing of Covid restrictions last year, there were many complaints about how difficult it was to get a taxi.
Many operators let their permits expire as they found alternative work as delivery drivers during the pandemic.
A Freedom of Information request from STV News revealed that only one new private hire license was granted in 2020, the year the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in the UK.
None were issued in 2021, and as of June there were none yet in 2022.
The number of new applications for taxi licenses fell by two-thirds between 2019 and 2020 and remained at just 33% in 2021.
In 2019, there were 267 new VTC requests, and this figure fell to only 3 in 2020 and 14 in 2021.
A cap on the number of private hire car driving licenses was introduced in 2019 – what the council called an over-provision policy.
Glasgow City Council said a similar policy was already in place for taxi drivers and the most recent cap was introduced after a rapid increase in the number of private taxi drivers since 2008.
While the number of cab licenses granted has not seen such an extreme drop, with 19 issued in 2019 and 13 in 2022, renewal levels have dropped dramatically.
In 2019, 708 taxi driver licenses were renewed, but this figure fell to 393 in 2020.
In 2021, 532 renewals were issued. During Covid, all applications due to expire between March and September 2020 have been extended by six months.
However, the council said there had been “a drop in the number of taxi drivers renewing their licence”.
VTC renewals have also dropped from 892 in 2019 to just 341 in 2020.
Glasgow City Council said it did not keep records of the number of taxi licenses held in the past, but as of June 2022 there were 1,831 black cabs and 3,301 private hire drivers licensed by the Glasgow ‘authority.
The drop in figures comes as the council prepares to issue fines to drivers who breach a ban on polluting vehicles in the city center through a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) policy.
Glasgow taxi drivers have warned that the LEZ is the end of trade ‘as we know it’.
The new scheme means many older vehicles that fail to meet minimum emissions standards have been banned from the city center from Wednesday – although there is a year-long grace period before it not be applied.
In October, Glasgow City Council announced that taxi operators in the city who do not have access to funded retrofit solutions to meet LEZ requirements will be given additional time to prepare.
The project to grant a one-year “time-limited exemption” will see its application postponed to June 1, 2024.
In Glasgow, the LEZ is already in place for buses and penalties will be imposed from June 1, 2023, with an extended grace period for local residents until June 1, 2024.
A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said: “The number of approved applications for private hire car driving licenses reflects Licensing and Regulations Committee policy on the provision of licenses in the city.
“A cap on the number of private hire car driving licenses was introduced in 2019 following a public consultation which included feedback from key stakeholders such as taxi industry representatives and operators, the police, transport providers and the city’s hospitality sector.
“A similar cap was already in place for taxi drivers and the decision to introduce the policy followed the rapid growth in the number of private hire car drivers in the city since 2008.
“A limit of 3,195 private rental car driver’s licenses has been established by policy and there are currently over 3,250 valid licenses held by drivers in the city.
“All license applications are determined on a case-by-case basis, but recent applications for private driving licenses have been denied in accordance with the committee’s over-provision policy.”