Taxi drivers in West Suffolk are being consulted on proposals to increase their fees and charges to cover the increased safety checks and administration.
The fees and charges in West Suffolk haven’t increased since 2015/16, but there has been a significant increase to the costs associated with the licensing of taxis during this time.
West Suffolk Council has now written to drivers and operators inviting feedback. The consultation is not on whether they like the increases, but on whether they agree that the council has complied with legislative requirements and used an appropriate approach to setting the fees.
Subject to this consultation, which will run until August 1, 2022, the proposals will then be considered by Cabinet later in the year. If agreed, the new charges won’t be introduced until April next year.
At the same time, members of the taxi trade have asked for the council to review passenger fares, which last went up in 2019.
The licensing committee will look at this next month and will be able to take the proposed increase to fees and charges into account when making their decision. Any increase to passenger fares may then come into effect later this year.
The fees and charges proposals are the result of increased work and costs from the national changes in government guidance that West Suffolk must follow. This includes new HM Revenue and Customs tax conditionality checks introduced in April and Department For Transport guidance that has increased driver DBS checks from every three years to every six months.
Andy Drummond, Cabinet Member for Regulatory and Environment, said: “Much of this national guidance and increased checks that we are required to do, are designed to protect passenger safety and public confidence in the taxi trade. This comes with a cost, however, which is why I am proposing that next April, we increase fees and charges for what will be the first time in seven years.
“The council will not be generating any additional income from these – we are not allowed to. We will aim to deliver a cost neutral service and if there is any surplus over a three-year period, it will be used to support the trade.”
The tables below include the current fees and charges and the proposed changes, which, if all is approved, will come into effect in April next year.
Table one – Hackney carriage and private hire – yearly
|Hackney carriage vehicle licence||Private hire vehicle licence|
Table two – Operator’s fees
|Operator fees (one year)||Operator fees (up to three vehicles, three years)||Operator fees (Over three years, three vehicles)||Operator fees (five years)|
Operator fees (one year) and Operator fees (five years) are calculated from over three vehicles, three yearly fee, as not currently offered by West Suffolk Council.
Table three – Combined driver’s fees – three yearly
|Combined driver’s fees (one year)||Combined driver’s fees (three years)|
Combined driver’s fees (one year) are calculated from combined drivers, three yearly fee, as not currently offered by West Suffolk Council.