Agenda item

Review of Consultation Feedback on the Council's Proposal to Increase Tariff 1 by 10% for Hackney Carriages

Adrian Hampton (Head of Highway Operations) has produced a briefing note which informs the Licensing Committee of the feedback resulting from the consultation undertaken on the proposal to increase Tariff 1 by 10% for Hackney Carriages in Wiltshire following significant fuel price rises during 2022.


Adrian Hampton (Head of Highway Operations) referred to the briefing note circulated with the Agenda which sought to brief the Committee on the feedback resulting from the consultation undertaken on the proposal to increase Tariff 1 by 10% for Hackney Carriages in Wiltshire following significant fuel prices rises during 2022 and highlighted the following:


  • The Licensing Committee granted the Taxi Licensing team the  authority to implement a 10% increase at the meeting on 20 June 2022 with any rise greater than 10% being referred back to the Committee;


  • The level of feedback was low despite drivers and vehicle owners being emailed directly.  A total of 32 responses were received from 674 licence holders;


  • Of the 32 responses 53% supported the proposal for a 10% increase to tariff1, 41% were against, 6% put forward no opinion, only feedback. It was noted that the 32 responses represented 5% of all hackney carriage drivers which was a disappointing response;


  • The Committee had asked for ideas on how it could support the industry through the current economic difficulties and some of the ideas suggested included: removing the tinted window restriction for vehicles, reducing licensing fees, allowing older vehicles to be licenced, ensuring there is an annual fare review, increase school contract prices to a level where they allow us to recover costs and introduce a £50, 1 year starter licence to encourage drivers into the trade;


  • There was only one objection received following the advertisement of the 10% increase for tariff 1 in taxis and the implementation was deferred whilst this objection was considered;


  • The tables at paragraph 3.12 of the report detailed the objections received and the Officer comments.  Give the low response rates it was very hard to draw conclusions.  Drivers were fairly evenly split with 53% of respondents supporting the proposal;


  • The most commented issues appeared to be that the increase should be larger, that tariff 2 should be included and that school contract fees should be raised to allow drivers to cover that cost;


  • Respondents also cited the fact that meters had only just been updated in January 2022 and suggested that the Council cover the cost of this.  The cost of approximately £18,865 was not budgeted for and therefore this would not be an option for the Council;


  • The proposal had been approved by the Head of Service – Highway Operations and the relevant Director and Cabinet Member;


  • Officers would be undertaking a benchmarking exercise in relation to the removal of the tinted window restriction and the introduction of a one year licence and would look to do that by 1 April 2023; and


  • The Officers had been empowered to make the decision and were asking the committee to note the decision to be made.


A Committee member noted the disappointing engagement rate and wondered what could be done to increase this and look at other ways to engage with the trade. 


The Chairman commented that he used to chair the taxi meetings and that it was an aspiration to reinvigorate those and get some new faces involved and attending.  Adrian Hampton reported that they were looking at overall engagement and that they recognise they need to get more interest in taxis.


A Committee member felt that drivers being able to use older vehicles and if the tinted window restriction was relaxed this may encourage more taxi drivers  and make them viable and agreed that we should be increasing the fares in line with the proposals.


Adrian Hampton reported that Officers would investigate what changes could be made, complete a review and report this back to the Committee in due course.


The Vice Chair wondered if drivers have to update their tariffs or if they could choose to continue with the existing prices and if there was a different way of looking at the costs for taxi drivers so that we could get the prices right for them.  Adrian Hampton reported that he would be happy to look at any model.




1.    That the Committee notes the Taxi Licensing team’s decision to increase Tariff 1 fares by 10% for Hackney Carriages.


2.    A communication be prepared for the taxi industry and the general public notify them of the changes and the proposed timetable for implementation.

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