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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 2:23 pm 
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Perth taxi firms ‘on their knees’ as tariffs remain the same for a decade

https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/pe ... h-kinross/

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Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson

Perth taxi firms are “on their knees” after not seeing a single rise in tariffs for the last decade.

Some have likened it to not having had a pay rise for 10 years, despite the rise in other costs during that time.

And while firms do not wish to pass on additional costs to the public, they say they must in order to make ends meet.

The impact of the pandemic, coupled with rising fuel, insurance and licence costs, mean that taxi firms are feeling the pinch.

But Perth and Kinross Council – which sets the tariffs – say a planned review in 2021 was delayed by pandemic.

It is now set to take place this month.

‘We are on our knees’

Anddy Lothian of Ace Taxis says taxi firms were asked to vote on whether there should be tariff increases.

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Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

But the authority did not hike fares.

He said: “For the past 10 years, they have refused to up the tariffs.

“I am paying for 20 licences but I get one vote. I should have 20 votes.

“Fuel, insurance and staff wages have all gone up. We really need an increase – we are on our knees, you know.

“Don’t get me wrong, no-one wants to put up their prices because it puts people off but we have to.

“We are asking for a small inflation rate rise.

“For the last 10 years, the council have increased the cost of licences but they haven’t raised our tariffs. It’s common sense.”

Rising costs

And Mr Lothian’s concerns are shared by other Perth taxi firms.

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Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson

Paul Hopkiss of Thistle Taxis likened the issue to a person not getting a pay rise in 10 years.

“Expenses have gone up but our income has not,” he said.

“Our income has been battered because of this. One thing is that many firms accept cards now and that will cost.

“We are doing everything we can to improve our service to the public, like the cards, but that comes at a cost.

“It needs to be a substantial rise and the sooner the better.

“Every single restriction that was put onto the general public has affected us.”

He added: “I think the public will accept it. They know this has been going on.

“I want to thank the public for still supporting us. I know they are scared and nervous using public transport.”

Image
Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson

Loss of drivers

Meanwhile, other firms have also urged the council to make changes amid their ongoing stuggles.

Dereck Sweeny of A&B Taxis said: “We are definitely needing this increase.

“A lot of us felt that business wasn’t so good and we didn’t want to put people off but now that has to happen.

“We have lost a lot of drivers to other industries.

“We lost 45 to 50% of our drivers to deliver takeaways because we just can’t compete with the way fares are at the moment.”

Peter Milne of Fair City Cab added: “They haven’t changed since 2011 but every year prices of fuel and insurance go up.

“I have 16 licences but I’m a representative of 31 people. But the council say I’m one voice.

“I understand that licencing are under pressure but it’s come to the point where it’s taking years and it’s not acceptable.”

What is the local authority’s position?

But in response to the taxi firms’ concerns, Perth and Kinross Council says it prioritised other areas amid the pandemic.

A spokesperson said: “The planned taxi fare review was unfortunately delayed due during 2021 so that priority could be given to issuing licences and processing Covid grants to taxi drivers and operators; and so it is incorrect to say we refused to carry out a review.

“The review is due to begin this month.

“Taxi operators are consulted in relation to any review of taxi fares. There is not a vote.

“Each taxi operator will be able to provide their view to the licensing department on an individual basis.

“Those views will be considered by the licensing committee, along with any other views expressed, when it makes a decision about whether to make changes to taxi fares.”


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 2:25 pm 
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Perth fleet owner wrote:
“I am paying for 20 licences but I get one vote. I should have 20 votes."

[-(

Another Perth fleet owner wrote:
“I have 16 licences but I’m a representative of 31 people. But the council say I’m one voice."

[-( [-(


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 3:12 pm 
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Things may be different in Scotland but where I am each driver is welcome to have their own views independent from any operator.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 6:03 pm 
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Quote:
But Perth and Kinross Council – which sets the tariffs – say a planned review in 2021 was delayed by pandemic.

Did they have a pandemic between 2012 and 2019 then? :-k

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 6:08 pm 
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Quote:
“I am paying for 20 licences but I get one vote. I should have 20 votes.

Image

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 6:09 pm 
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Quote:
Peter Milne of Fair City Cab added: “They haven’t changed since 2011 but every year prices of fuel and insurance go up.

“I have 16 licences but I’m a representative of 31 people. But the council say I’m one voice.

Image

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 7:15 pm 
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Anddy can run a Mercedes’ and buy a vanity plate, so can’t be doing too badly.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:10 pm 
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grandad wrote:
Things may be different in Scotland but where I am each driver is welcome to have their own views independent from any operator.

Interestingly, booking offices have no more say than HC plateholders up here. In fact, they have less, and they're essentially just the same as drivers.

But it's a several stage process, and in Fife the preliminary stuff is basically an inner circle of selected offices and associations.

Then they publish a proposed fare scale, and this is the interesting bit. All HC plateholders have to be contacted with the proposed 'fare scale', and they can object and request a hearing by the Traffic Commissioner.

But drivers don't have any say at this point (unless they're an owner-driver, obviously), nor do PH plateholders who often work alongside HCs (and if they have a meter fitted it's set at the HC fares). And the booking offices don't have any real say at this consultation point either, again unless of course they're also HC plateholders.

So it's all down to HC plateholders at this point. But to appeal to the TC, you have to show that your represent a significant proportion (or something like that) of HC plateholders.

Which in Fife, with its size and several distinct zones, is like an HC plateholder in Melton (say) representing a significant proportion of HC plateholders in Stamford, Rushcliffe, Charnwood, Rutland etc etc.

So difficult to mount an appeal even in a distinct city, never mind a huge multi-zoned area like Fife.

Anyway, could write a short book on all that, and it would be easy to pick holes in the above, but that's it in a nutshell :?

(The legislation concentrates on HC plateholders ['operators' here] I suspect because when the legislation was enacted only badges and plates were issued. The 'booking office' licensing came more than 20 years later, which is why I suspect they're effectively ignored in terms of consultation in the legislation.)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:18 pm 
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But surely the general public has a say via the objection process? :-k

If so then surely that would cover the non-owning driver and the PH trade that use meters.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:19 pm 
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These are the relevant two sections in the legislation. Section 17 deals with reviewing and setting the fares, and section 18 deals with the appeal process to the traffic commissioner.

Very messy stuff, but relatively short, so good bedtime reading :-o

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1982/45/section/17

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1982/45/section/18

And, of course, as usual 'operator' means a plateholder up here [-(


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:23 pm 
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StuartW wrote:
These are the relevant two sections in the legislation. Section 17 deals with reviewing and setting the fares, and section 18 deals with the appeal process to the traffic commissioner.

Very messy stuff, but relatively short, so good bedtime reading :-o

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1982/45/section/17

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1982/45/section/18

And, of course, as usual 'operator' means a plateholder up here [-(

The main difference to down here is the appeals process.

In short we really don't have one, what the council agrees is the end of the matter.

I suppose one could start Judicial Review proceedings, but that's not really practicable.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:24 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
But surely the general public has a say via the objection process? :-k

If so then surely that would cover the non-owning driver and the PH trade that use meters.

Indeed, you're correct, but if you read the legislation, the specific references are to taxi operators.

So to a degree anyone can get involved, but the process specifically targets operators/plateholders - the latter will receive a letter with the proposed tariffs, while excluded drivers and the public will only get that notice on page 46 of the Courier.

Also, to a degree by the time the notice is published in the paper and the letters sent out, it gives the impression of being something of a fait accompli, even as someone who's specifically consulted. It's all stiched up earlier by a sort of inner circle, as per s. 17(4A)(a) [-(


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:30 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
The main difference to down here is the appeals process.

In short we really don't have one, what the council agrees is the end of the matter.

I suppose one could start Judicial Review proceedings, but that's not really practicable.

Indeed, and to a degree that's why it's effectively cut and dried by the time everyone's consulted. I mean, appealing to the TC is a bit like a court of law, with a 'judgement' issued, etc.

And, for example, in one I read about, at the TC hearing Edinburgh were represented by a solicitor, who had prepared a 50-page submission, or something like that.

So it's all a bit daunting, hence looks cut and dried by the time the real consultation/appeals process takes place.

(That said, I'm sure someone on here appealed to the TC one year when he considered the rise insufficient, then appealed the next time round because the rise was too much :lol: :oops: )


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:42 pm 
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I may have brushed over the process a bit above, but in a nutshell think it's:

1) The inner circle are consulted and a tariff proposed.

2) Then it's published in the newspaper, and anyone can object. Including, obviously, the public and those in the trade without an HC plate.

3) Once that's over, all plateholders are sent a letter (by recorded delivery, or personally served :-o ) with the proposed 'fare scale', and it's then that the TC appeal can be started.

So the public etc aren't ignored completely, but the emphasis of the whole thing is definitely towards HC plateholders :?


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