Tom Ince (Principal Compliance Officer) has prepared an update on the proposed changes to the Taxi Tariff Schedule for Hackney Carriages which is attached for the Committee’s information.
Tom Ince (Principal Compliance Officer) referred to the update which sought to brief the Licensing Committee on the latest position in relation to implementing a new schedule of tariffs and fees for Hackney Carriages in Wiltshire and highlighted the following:
· The review of Wiltshire’s taxi tariffs was following a challenge from those involved in the late-night economy in the South of the County who felt that the fares were too expensive in the evening;
· It was agreed at an extraordinary meeting of the Licensing Committee on 27 January 2020 to undertake a public consultation into proposals on a new fees and tariffs schedule for Hackney Carriages in Wiltshire. This consultation was carried out in February 2020;
· Following the consultation and considering the feedback received, part of the proposal was changed. The impact of the changes were that it would make for cheaper late-night fares after 02.30am, addressing the issues raised in relation to the late-night economy. The change to charge tariff 2 and 4 from 22:00 would mean that travel between 22:00 and 22:29 was now slightly more expensive;
· This proposal was accepted in 2020 but then not implemented due to advertising budget issues and Covid. It was now felt that the time was right to proceed, however changes to the tariff would incur a small cost of approximately £20 to adjust each vehicle meter;
· It was proposed that the new tariff would be implemented on 1 January 2022. There would obviously have to be a period of grace to allow the update of meters, but the drivers would not be able to change the tariffs before 1 January 2022; and
· These changes would be duly advertised and communicated with the trade as this was a legal requirement and Councillors would be advised when this was to happen as they may receive feedback from the public and drivers.
The Chair reminded the Committee that the decision to delay this implementation had been made because of Covid and that the tariffs would continue to be subject to a regular review if requested by the trade. The Chair asked Officers to ensure that there was clear communication to the trade and Officers assured him communications would be sent out as soon as possible to give the trade as much notice as possible so that they were able to plan for the changes.
The Vice Chair commented that the only way a hackney carriage driver is able to get more income is to work more hours or by the Council putting up the tariff rates – if drivers want a pay rise this can only be achieved by the Council increasing the tariffs.
A Committee member suggested that sharing the current and proposed tariff cards would have been helpful and it was agreed that when the briefing note was circulated to all Councillors following the meeting that both tariff cards be included.
That the Licensing Committee note the update on proposed changes to the schedule of fees and tariffs for Hackney Carriages that is due to take place on 1 January 2022, subject to the proposals being advertised and standard consultation processes.
Admin note – Following the meeting on advice it was agreed that the tariffs would be implemented from 4 January 2022 to allow time for the required changes to be made.