11:54AM, Thursday 10 October 2019
Royal Ascot racegoers face paying more to see the horses after councillors agreed to permanently increase taxi fares.
During this year’s Royal Ascot festival in June, hackney carriage taxis licensed by the Royal Borough charged revellers a 50 per cent higher fare as part of a trial agreed by councillors.
At a Licensing Panel on Tuesday, councillors decided to retain the fare increase during race week every year.
Speaking at the panel, Greg Nelson, trading standards and licensing lead for the council, said that taxi drivers had given positive feedback on the change and passengers had provided no feedback at all – positive or negative.
While most of the councillors on the panel were supportive of the change, Cllr John Baldwin (Lib Dem, Belmont) abstained from the vote. He said: “This is feedback from drivers delighted at being able to charge 50 per cent more.
“Apart from the few references you have made to feedback, do you have any other data?”
According to Mr Nelson, there was no more data.
The fare change trial, which was sanctioned by the panel before the local elections took place in May, was held because hackney carriage drivers had complained that they had to spend a long time queuing to get into Ascot during race days, affecting their income.
Also at the meeting, the panel agreed that those applying to become hackney carriage drivers in the Royal Borough no longer needed to have their certificate of fitness signed off by their GP.
Now, they will be able to get it signed off by any medical doctor registered in the UK. Any doctor who does sign off a certificate will be provided with a full medical history of the driver.
Mr Nelson said: “It seems to be increasing slightly, year on year, as more pressure is put on the GP’s
“It’s only a small problem but at the moment the applicants can’t get around the problem. It’s caused real stress for some applicants."
This regulation applies to new licence applicants and existing drivers who are renewing.
Due to increased workload, some GPs are no longer signing the certificates for the drivers.
Under the changes, drivers will now have more flexibility as to who can sign off their form, meaning they can back on the road quicker.
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