A petition signed by taxi drivers from the Bedford Hackney Carriage Association, and their claims of unfairness will be discussed by council members. Taxi drivers are saying that the yearly hackney carriage test charges of over £400 are too expensive and are one of the highest in the county and neighbouring counties.
They believe that the retest fee of £81 is unfair and unjust, and should be abolished. They also called for the first increase in six years in the minumum fare they can charge customers, from £3.20 to at least £3.80, which they say will put them on a par with private hire drivers. Fee increases were agreed by the General Licensing Committee but because of the objections highlighted in the petition, the decision has to be reviewed. In a meeting which took place on 16 May, taxi drivers voiced their objections to proposals for a two per cent increase in fees, which included a hike for the retest from £81 to £83. According to a report in the Bedford Today, 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, said in her report to the General Licensing Sub-Committee: “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.”