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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 4:25 am 
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Taxi drivers in Bedford protest ‘unfair’ council fees

https://www.bedfordtoday.co.uk/news/pol ... -1-8940063

It’s not fair! That’s the cry from taxi drivers in Bedford who claim that they pay much more in fees than their colleagues other towns.

And on Tuesday, a petition signed by scores of drivers from the Bedford Hackney Carriage Association, and their claims of unfairness will be discussed by councillors.

“Our council charges over £400 for a Hackney Carriage test each year,” said Tahir Rashid, Haroon Rashid and Mohammed Bashir, in a protest email to the council.

“This is one of the highest in the county and neighbouring counties.

“A fee of £81 for a retest is unfair and unjust and we believe this should be abolished.”

They also called for the first increase in six years in the minimum fare they can charge customers, from £3.20 to at least £3.80. This would they say put them on a par with private hire drivers.

Drivers also say that if Central Beds taxis are re-tested in Bedford, they are charged £27, while a driver from the town is charged £81.

The General Licensing Committee had agreed to a new range of fee increases at its meeting on February 7 but the objections mean the decision has to be reviewed.

Taxi drivers met with council officers on May 16 and confirmed their objections to proposals for two per cent increases, including in the fee for retesting vehicles from £81 to £83. The views of other objectors will be reported to next week’s meeting.

Sue Lyons, Bedford Council’s interim chief officer legal for and democratic services, in her report to the General Licensing Sub-Committee, says: “The law requires that all objections validly received are considered before any decision is taken to confirm, reject or modify the fees and charges objected to.”

The council, even though it has a policy of “maximising income from fees and charges,” is legally obliged not to make any more money out of licensing fees than it needs to cover its costs.

So the sub-committee has been told that income generation was predicated on the basis that the maximisation would be lawful and, therefore, this needs to be considered. Any potential impacts on the council’s budget would be considered by the executive.


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 4:30 am 
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Quote:
Our council charges over £400 for a Hackney Carriage test each year,” said Tahir Rashid, Haroon Rashid and Mohammed Bashir, in a protest email to the council.


Can't be bothered looking it up, but doubt if that's just for the test. But still a lot if that's the annual fee for a plate - ours isn't much more for *three* years :)

Quote:
“A fee of £81 for a retest is unfair and unjust and we believe this should be abolished.”


Indeed, but our retest fee in Fife is £100 [-(

Quote:
They also called for the first increase in six years in the minimum fare they can charge customers, from £3.20 to at least £3.80. This would they say put them on a par with private hire drivers.

:-s Certainly makes a change if the PH fares are higher than the HC tariff, but I'd take this claim with a pinch of salt.

Quote:
Drivers also say that if Central Beds taxis are re-tested in Bedford, they are charged £27, while a driver from the town is charged £81.

:-s


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 5:17 pm 
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They also called for the first increase in six years in the minimum fare they can charge customers, from £3.20 to at least £3.80. This would they say put them on a par with private hire drivers.

Don't know where to start with that little nugget.

Maybe the hackney trade should concentrate on what they do and not worry what others are charging.

Quite often the start for a PH is higher than the taxi flag, for good reason, but that doesn't mean the running mile is.

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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 7:25 am 
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Location: Stamford Britains prettiest town till SKDC ruined it
It does sound expensive especially if only one test per year

we pay £238.50 annually for taxi plate but testing is carried out separately at an approved test station which costs locally £ 59.00 every 6 months

so that's £356.50 per year

In Rutland it is just £151 per annum with a standard MOT once a year at about £50.00 so just £201 :shock:

I assume it's a similar differential for Melton ?

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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 4:32 pm 
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Our vehicle license is about £65 a year.

Our tests are the same price as an MOT.

Sounds incredible reasonable compared to some.

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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 10:43 am 
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Keep your cabs in tip-top condition, Bedford taxi drivers told

https://www.bedfordtoday.co.uk/news/pol ... -1-8944041

Taxi drivers plying their trade in Bedford are being encouraged to keep their cabs in tip-top condition to make sure that they do not fail their annual safety checks.

The call came at yesterday's (Tuesday) meeting of Bedford Borough Council’s General Licensing Sub-Committee, which met to discuss taxi drivers’ protests that they are paying over the odds for various fees, including £83 for getting cabs re-tested after they fail annual check ups.

Gill Anderson, the council’s manager for registrations & land charges, said: “There is disquiet in the trade with the retest fees but our view is that vehicles should be presented ready to pass the test. Minor issues can be dealt with the same day but if it fails, the driver has to re-book.”

One of the issues with re-booking is that with 600 licensed drivers working in Bedford, it can take weeks to get a new slot. This means that a cab that has failed its check up will be off the streets and the driver will be losing money.

The council allows drivers to book a pre-check test before the annual test is due. But the sub-committee heard that hardly any drivers use the pre-checks, preferring to take it to the wire.

Members of the sub-committee of four councillors were told that 25 private hire and Hackney cabs failed their checks in the period February to early May. Some had multiple issues, including fog lamps not working, fuel leaks, and damage.

There were no taxi drivers present at the meeting but Gurdeep Dosanjh, the secretary of the Bedford Hackney Carriage Association, spoke to the Local Democracy Reporting Service afterwards.

He said the trade was facing rising costs and tough competition, including from drivers who travel in from outside of town and use SatNavs, instead of having to pass the local knowledge tests.

“We haven’t had an increase in the minimum fare for six years,” he said.

“The majority of the council fees are in line with other areas but they charge things like £41 for a photocopy of a taxi licence and £83 for a re-test, which is out of line.”

But Mr Dosanjh said taxi drivers were keen to talk to the council about issues, and were not planning to strike. “We do things democratically,” he said.

The meeting heard that the council is looking to streamline the licensing and safety checks process, to make it cheaper, and enable fees to be reduced.

And Cllr Phillippa Martin-Moran-Bryant said: “I would like to thank the trade for contacting the council and raising their concerns, and to our officers for talking to the trade.”

But Cllr Sarah Gallagher, who was in the chair, said: “We have a duty of care and taxi drivers need to realise that they are driving many members of the public. If we have to increase the fees, we will increase the fees.”

Councillors were told that it would be against the law for the council to charge over the odds and use licensing fees to do anything other than cover their costs. Most of the fees charged to drivers have been confirmed as rising by 2 per cent.


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 10:47 am 
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Quote:
One of the issues with re-booking is that with 600 licensed drivers working in Bedford, it can take weeks to get a new slot. This means that a cab that has failed its check up will be off the streets and the driver will be losing money.


What's the number of licensed drivers got to do with it? Doesn't matter if it's six or 6,000, if it's properly organised then the total number shouldn't be relevant to how long it takes to get a retest slot.

But I take with a pinch of salt the claim that drivers are off the road for 'weeks' because they can't get a retest slot.

Quote:
Some had multiple issues, including fog lamps not working...


So no less safe than the cabs that don't have fog lamps fitted, presumably...


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 6:33 pm 
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Quote:
There were no taxi drivers present at the meeting

Does beg the question then if the trade are really that bothered. :-k

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