There have been numerous news articles over the past few years that have discussed how taxi drivers across the UK have been struggling to make a living due to the fact that councils are increasing the cost of licensing. Furthermore, there have also been arguments that some councils are restricting when and where taxi drivers are allowed to pick up their fares, meaning that many are having to move in order to make a living.
Therefore, it is good news that today Telford & Wrekin council announced that they are reducing the amount taxi drivers have to pay in order to have their vehicles licensed. The council has decided that for both private hire and black cabs the cost for a new twelve month licence will be a flat fee of £170 instead of £195, and the cost of a renewal will go down from £195 to £160. The savings taxi drivers will make will not only help their overall income, but also make it easier for them to pay for necessities such as taxi insurance and maintenance.
The report discussing the changes to the taxi licensing prices said: “Working closely with the new business support team, the licensing team will focus on pro-actively attracting and supporting potential licensees to make sure that the licensing process is as easy as possible for them to use. The licensing committee has been very clear that it views local licensing of a local taxi service as a priority – the significant reduction to operators’ fees and drivers and vehicle fees, along with service improvements, is a definite response to the feedback from the trade and members’ concerns to encourage those providing a taxi service in our borough, an absolutely essential public and business service, to come back and be locally regulated.”
Many taxi drivers from the Telford area had previously moved their business towards Shropshire so that they would be able to pay less in licensing fees, however now that the council has reduced their fees they are hoping more taxi drivers will come back to the area. However, spokesman for Telford & Wrekin Council, Russell Griffin said this was not the only reason the council made the decision. He noted: “We have reviewed our licences to try and reduce the financial burden in the trade – we have been able to make the reductions by looking at the way that we provide the service and making efficiencies which have reduced the costs of the licences. We are pleased to be able to pass these savings onto the trade.”