May 3, 2019
Plymouth City Council has been forced to re-think a proposed license fee increase after receiving a legal letter from outraged black cab drivers. The proposal, released in January this year, saw fares in some areas increase by a whopping 80%.
At a sub-committee meeting, Rachael Hind, Licensing Service Manager, advised that the council was required to give the letter “due consideration” before making a final decision. In response, a council official said: “We require some more time to consider all of the issues involved.”
Council’s Finance Concerns
The council defends its decision saying the taxi licensing service must provide enough income to finance itself and the increased fees are required to balance the books.
Councillors have been advised that the hackney carriage fund will have a £92,000 deficit by the end of March if the rise doesn’t go ahead.
Should plans for the increased fees take place, hackney taxis would see a one-year black cab licence go from £210 to £342. Private hire drivers would also be affected, with a one-year licence increasing from £117 to £170.
Further rises for hackney carriages have been suggested for 2020 with the aim of keeping accounts out of the red.
A similar case is being heard by Wakefield City Council after lawyers announced that taxi drivers in the area had been overcharged by a staggering £1million and intend on claiming the money back.
As such, Plymouth drivers are closely monitoring the matter. Assistant Secretary of the Plymouth Licensed Taxi Association, Christopher Wildman, said: “The proposed increases are obviously ridiculous. We, like the council, await the publication of the judgment on Wakefield and we have taken legal advice.”
Protests in the city are believed to be on hold while the council considers the legal letter and a conclusion is made.
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