Following a meeting of the Regulatory Committee in April, members met again today (May 22) to consider the outcome of detailed discussions between the trade and the council on the fee increases proposed.
In June last year the council agreed to charge the full cost of providing a number of services wherever it was feasible to do so. This included the cost of providing a taxi licensing service.
At the meeting today, members heard that the service - which ensures the safety of taxi drivers and passengers through the tight licensing of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles – was predicted to cost around £28,000 over and above the fees and charges expected to be collected from taxi drivers and operators during the coming year.
These extra costs would normally be picked up by local council taxpayers, rather than the taxi trade.
At last month’s meeting members agreed the principle that taxi drivers should cover the costs of this service through an increase in fees and charges. At the meeting today they agreed the fee structure required to deliver this.
The new fees, which will cover costs, were derived from estimating future activity based on applications received for taxi licences last financial year. The committee were questioned about these estimated figures by John Jones on behalf of the Herefordshire Taxi Association. Although sympathetic to the views of the trade, members voted to accept the new fees as proposed. However, to reassure taxi drivers, they also agreed to review the accounts after eight months to make sure the new fees were covering the costs of the service and that the council wasn’t making profits from this activity.
Marc Willimont, acting head of service, said: “We have estimated the cost of providing a taxi licensing service for a year based on current activity. The costs of providing the service need to be covered, even though we have already made significant reductions in overhead and management costs. We need to make sure the revised fees achieve this.
“The new fees, although increased, bring Herefordshire in line with many other local authorities.