Ely taxi drivers could see their licence fees rocket by over 100 per cent

Taxi sign. en 16/05/03

Taxi sign. en 16/05/03 - Credit: Archant

Taxi firms in Ely and East Cambridgeshire will be hit by new fees that could see licences rocket – in one instance by over 100 per cent.

File photo dated 28/07/14 of a London taxi passing by a taxis sign on the road. London cabbies are s

File photo dated 28/07/14 of a London taxi passing by a taxis sign on the road. London cabbies are staging a "go slow" in the capital today in protest against a decision by London Mayor Boris Johnson over taxi pollution. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 9, 2014. The Cabbies Against Boris (CAB) organisation says Mr Johnson is wrong to have scrapped older taxis on pollution grounds. CAB says research shows that new vehicles contribute more to pollution than older ones. The demonstration today seeks to bring central London to a halt. See PA story TRANSPORT Cabs. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The charges are being recommended for approval by the district council’s licensing committee and will come into effect shortly.

Only two firms wrote in opposing the charges that will, for example, see a three year joint driver licence renewal rise from £146 to £298- an increase of 104 per cent.

A new three year joint driver licence will rise 73 per cent from £204 to £354 and a new Hackney carriage licence will rise from £150 to £192 – an increase of 28 per cent.

Stewart Broome, senior licensing officer, says in a report to the licensing committee next Wednesday: “Approving the proposed increases will represent a significant percentage increase in fees for the trade.

“However although the percentage increase appears high, an average one man/woman operation holding a driver, vehicle and operator licence would see a total increase of £77 a year – or £1.46 per week.”

He said: “The proposed fees do not exceed cost recovery. They also reflect the fact that councillors in November agreed with the officer’s recommendation to adopt a staged approach to reach full recovery over the next three to five years.”

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Mr Broome said that by approving the figures, the committee will help to reduce the deficit between taxi licensing costs and taxi licensing revenue that has accumulated due in part to there not being a fee increase since 2011.

But taxi bosses Sue and Neil Cornell have written to the council “strongly objecting to the huge price increases. All Ely taxi drivers are struggling and this would be the nail in the coffin for some.”

Only those firms with school contracts were managing to survive and they called for a cap on the number of taxi plates issued.

Julie and Rodger Goodson of JR Cars of Littleport also wrote in to complain about the licence increases.

They pointed out that a “one year licence fee is only £77 which if you multiply it by three single years works out at £231- so who is going to buy a three year licence for £298?”.

They also complained of the 28 per cent rise in the one year plate and called for a rate fare increase “in line with your proposals”.