West Suffolk: Taxi drivers face increased fees and charges

12:25 19 October 2022

The first increase in fees and charges for West Suffolk taxi drivers in seven years will come into effect next April.

The District Council Cabinet agreed on a higher cost package at a meeting on Tuesday.

The annual cost of a cab license will rise from £163 to £209, while the license cost for private hire vehicles will rise from £154 to £188.

The combined driver fee for three years will drop from £206 to £308.

Operator fees will remain the same – at £200 for up to three years and £301 over three years or for three vehicles.

The council attributes the increases to the fact that its costs are higher, following changes to national government guidelines.

Councilor Andy Drummond
– Credit: Amy Drummond

This includes Department for Transport expectations that taxi drivers must undergo DBS checks every six months instead of the previous three-yearly checks, and HM Revenue and Customs tax compliance checks introduced in April.

Andy Drummond, Council Cabinet Member for Licensing and Regulation, said: “Let’s be clear, this is not about generating additional revenue for the Council.

“We are not allowed to do this by law, but we are looking to run a service at no cost.

“By increasing these fees and charges, we are effectively asking commerce to cover the increased costs associated with licensing.

“These increased costs include the audits we need to carry out on their behalf to protect passenger safety and maintain public confidence in the taxi business.

“Our priority is to ensure that applications are processed on time and that the appropriate checks are carried out.

“If there is excess income over a three-year period, it will be used to support trade.”

A consultation with taxi drivers and operators between late June and early August on the appropriateness and legality of the changes returned four objections.

Two opponents said passenger fares should go up first, which they did in late August. Proposals for increased fees and charges were included as part of the rationale for increasing passenger fares.

The main comments from the other two opponents were that the fees were high and that the board should instead reduce the level of administration.

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