It is no secret that changing a car frequently can mean a costly pay out on taxi insurance if it is done mid-term, but new legislation in East Lindsey will see taxi drivers also having to pay an administration fee if they change their taxi vehicle mid-licence term. The legislation change is one of multiple changes made by the East Lindsey District Council’s General Licensing Committee.
The principal licensing officer Adrian Twiddy claimed that a ‘small minority’ of taxi drivers change their vehicle within the licensing term, with some people even changing up to five times within a year. The licensing fee will set cabbies back £30 for every change they make to their vehicle mid-term. This fee will be on top of the £10 fee for a new licence plate, which has been in place for some time. The committee stated that they deal with around 70 vehicle changes on average a year.
The change does not come without significant opposition though. Skegness Taxi Owners Association (STOA) have expressed their displeasure at the changes, saying that the change is just an extra charge designed to make money out of taxi drivers, with local councillor Julia Pears agreeing that the charge should not be added.
The charges come into play at a time when taxi drivers are already feeling the pinch with the increase in as fuel prices as well as the cost of living. However, the maximum rate which taxi drivers in the area can charge in the day has also been upped by between ten and thirty pence depending on the distance travelled per journey. Moreover, maximum soiling charge for vehicles has been increased from £50 to £60 – a welcome increase for drivers who experience the expense of taxi cleaning. A half an hour earlier night time rate, changing from 11.30pm to 11pm, is also amongst the changes implicated by the organisation.
The STOA was not entirely pleased with the changes to tariffs however, stating that these would be difficult to integrate with taxi meter services, meaning it would make little difference and that the association advocated their own fare system to be taken up. How the changes affect the taxi drivers in the area it remains to be seen.