First taxi fees and charges increase for seven years to be decided
11 Oct 2022
The first increase in seven years to the licensing fees and charges the taxi and private hire trade pay in West Suffolk, is due to be decided next week.
The fees and charges proposals are the result of increased work and costs from the national changes in Government guidance that West Suffolk Council 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.
The recommendations will be considered by West Suffolk Council’s Cabinet next Tuesday (18). If approved, the increase, the first since 2015-16, will come into effect from 3 April next year.
The council consulted with the trade between late June and the beginning of August. That consultation wasn’t about whether the trade liked the increases, but on whether they agreed that the council has complied with legislative requirements and used an appropriate approach to setting the fees.
The council received four objections although none related to the question as to whether the fees and charges had been calculated correctly and the legislative requirements followed.
Two of the objections stated that passenger fares needed to go up first – which they did from late August after the Licensing Committee agreed to proposals put forward from taxi driver Rob Dorling. The proposals to increase fees and charges was included as part of the rationale to increase passenger fares.
Another member of the trade said the rate was high while the fourth said the council should instead reduce the amount of administration.
“We are clear that much of this national guidance and increased checks that we are required to do, is designed to protect passenger safety and maintain public confidence in the taxi trade. Our priority is to ensure applications are processed in time and the appropriate checks are carried out,” said Cllr Andy Drummond, the council’s Cabinet Member for Licensing and Regulatory.
“This is not about generating additional income. We are now allowed to do so by law. This is about delivering a cost neutral service and any surplus over a three-year period will be used to support the trade.
“By increasing these fees and charges, we will effectively be asking the trade to cover the increased costs associated with granting licences. That is why I will be asking my Cabinet colleagues to back these proposals when we meet next week.”
The tables below include the current fees and charges and the proposed changes.
Table 1 – Hackney carriage and private hire – yearly
|Hackney carriage vehicle licence||£163||£209|
|Private hire vehicle licence||£154||£188|
Table 2 – Operator’s fees
|Operator fees (one year)||£100||£134|
|Operator fees (up to three vehicles, three years)||£200|
|Operator fees (Over three years, three vehicles)||£301|
|Operator fees (five years)||£502||£539|
Please note that because West Suffolk Council does not currently offer one-year and five-year fees as is proposed, for comparison purposes only, the council has calculated what this would be from the current ‘over three vehicles, three yearly fee’.
Table 3 - Combined driver's fees - three yearly
|Combined driver's fees (one year)||£69||£174|
|Combined driver's fees (three years)||£206||£308|
Please note that because West Suffolk Council does not currently offer combined driver’s fees for one year as is proposed, for comparison purposes only, the council has calculated what this would be from the current three yearly fee.