Taxi drivers are always concerned over how much their local councils will charge them for their taxi licenses, especially if it is a large amount as this means that it will be extremely difficult for them to pay for their taxi insurance, general maintenance, MOTs and road tax and still have enough money to live on. This is why Hackney Carriage drivers in Cardiff have recently vowed to fight their local council over a decision to increase the taxi licence renewal free from £230 to £435 as of this June.
Not only this, the council have decided that they are also going to introduce other fees for taxi drivers, such as £30 for each driver’s first two oral knowledge tests, as well as £19 for the written test, £15 for replacement plates and a £26 admin charge if they choose to change their vehicle. During a meeting at County Hall taxi drivers packed the public gallery, with many shouting out their dismay, with one saying “you’re robbing us” and another saying “You are going to make 900 drivers bankrupt – that is all you are going to do.”
However, the Public Committee chairman Derrick Morgan said that this is only the beginning of a pubic consultation that will go on for another twenty eight days, and that the Committee will be taking into considerations any objections made by taxi drivers. He went on to say that if the objections are received then the increase in fees will be delayed so that trade representatives can put their case forward. The council has also claimed that they are increasing the licensing fees so that they can reduce the current deficit that has been created by the current amount of money paid per licence not covering the costs of administration fees.
Dave Holland, the council’s head of regulatory and supporting services said that as fees had not increased since 2009 changes needed to be made. He went on to say: “We need to get to a point where the licensing regime operates properly. This will be the first time the fees have been set following this process.” However, whilst the government claim that they have to increase the cost of licensing in order to reduce their deficit, at the same time they are planning on reducing the cost of licence renewal for private hire taxis from £230 to £97, which many feel is unfair.