Taxi drivers? anger at proposed rise in fees

Taxi drivers? anger at proposed rise in fees

Tom Roddy

Taxi drivers? anger at proposed rise in fees

Furious taxi drivers have described the Royal Borough as ‘hypocritical’ and ‘Draconian’ after it launched a consultation which included raising drivers’ fees.

Members of the licensing panel authorised the consultation which recommends increasing temporary vehicle licence fees from £80 to £120 and road knowledge testing fees from £16 to £30.

It says this is to come into line with other local authorities but taxi drivers have said it’s ‘one rule for the borough and another for them’ after an increase on their tariffs was refused in 2013.

“When we ask to be with the surrounding boroughs on vehicle colours and how much we earn we get told ‘no, no, no, no’,” said Shah Rouf, a Hackney carriage driver who lives in Bray. “Now you are wanting something, you say we need to be in line (with other councils). It’s hypocritical.”

Steve Garelick, GMB branch secretary, said: “To have a 30 per cent increase seems Draconian to me. There seems to be some misnomers there.”

The consultation says the current figure for temporary vehicle licence fees ‘no longer covers the work involved and has not kept up with fees charged by other local authorities’.

It also highlights that Slough Borough Council currently charges £40 for road knowledge testing fees.

Mr Rouf, however, says the comparison between tariffs in Slough and Windsor and Maidenhead is too large.

“Slough have a start-off charge of £3 and that is up to 254 yards or 120 seconds,” said the 36-year-old. “Until last year RBWM used to be at £2.73; now, we are at £2.80 and this goes up to 1,100 yards, which means you can take someone from Maidenhead Riverside to Windsor without it going up.”

He added: “How is that a decent living wage at £2.80 an hour?”

A spokeswoman for the Royal Borough said the current fees are low compared to other boroughs and doesn’t cover the cost of administration. She added: “The proposed increase would still provide a competitive lower rate compared to some neighbouring authorities.

“No final decision has been made and all responses received from consultees will be considered by the licensing panel.”

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