Manchester City Council is currently being investigated by the Audit Commission after suspicions that taxi drivers are being overcharged for taxi licences.
Greater Manchester Private Hire Association alleges that Manchester drivers are paying £240 more than Liverpool drivers – an unwelcomed extra cost for cabbies who are already faced with many work related outgoings such as increased fuel prices, taxi finance , insurance and ongoing vehicle maintenance.
Les Reid, owner of taxi firm, MR Black Cabs said that he and his fellow cabbies, wanted and deserved an explanation as to why there is such a huge price difference.
Les commented; “Licensing a cab in Manchester costs £410 per year, while our neighbours in Liverpool pay £170 and get a far better service.
"We need that answering - why is there such a disparity?”
Audit Commissioner, Grant Thornton said: “We have received a request to review the council's arrangements for charging for private hire licences which we are responding to through the normal course of the audit."
A Council spokesperson said; “Manchester licensees are not being overcharged. The price includes the cost of the MOT whereas Liverpool City Council does not include this in their fee.”
Manchester cabbies argue that by law, they are only required to pay the Council administration fees but recent Council accounts had revealed that other costs including parking permits, catering and security had also been added on.
Manchester Private Hire Association spokesman, Derek Brocklehurst, commented: “There needs to be some questions answered about what we’re getting, especially in these hard times.”
Manchester City Council are sticking to their guns but added that they are happy to work with the external auditors to demonstrate that there is nothing amiss about the figures.