Taxi drivers in West Suffolk may see their fees and charges go up for the first time in seven years next April, due to increased safety checks and administration.
While West Suffolk Council hasn’t put up its taxi fees and charges since 2015/16, there has been a significant increase to the costs associated with the licensing of taxis during this time.
The increased workloads and costs are a result of national changes in government guidance which West Suffolk must follow. By way of example, this includes complying with new HM Revenue and Customs tax conditionality checks introduced in April and Department For Transport guidance which has increased driver DBS checks from every three years to every six months. All of these are designed to protect the trade from less reputable drivers who could undermine compliant drivers.
The council’s priority continues to be to ensure that licence applications are processed in time and appropriate checks can be carried out to protect passenger safety and in so doing to maintain public confidence in the taxi service.
Andy Drummond, the Cabinet Member for Regulatory and Environment, has announced his decision to consult with the trade on the proposed increases. This consultation will not be on whether they like the increases, but on whether they agree that the council has complied with legislative requirements and whether it has used an appropriate approach to setting the fees.
Subject to the consultation and call-in periods during which other councillors can scrutinise decisions, the proposed increase would then be considered by Cabinet later in the year. If agreed, the new charges won’t be introduced until April next year.
The proposed increases are set out in the tables below.
Table 1 Hackney carriage and Private hire – yearly
|Hackney carriage vehicle licence||Private hire vehicle licence|
Table 2 Operator’s Fees
|Operator Fees (1 year)||Operator Fees (up to 3 vehicles, 3 years)||Operator Fees (over 3 vehicles, 3 years)||Operator fees (5 years)|
*1 calculated from over 3 vehicles, 3 yearly fee, as not currently offered by WSC
Table 3 Combined Driver’s Fees – Three Yearly
|Combined Driver’s Fees (1 year)||Combined Driver’s Fees (3 years)|
*2 calculated from Combined driver’s, 3 yearly fee, as not currently offered by WSC