Coventry's taxi drivers left fearing for their futures as licence fee increase approved

Taxi drivers in Coventry will now have to pay an increased licence fee after councillors approved the controversial price hike. 

Local cabbies desperately tried to oppose the proposal, stressing the increase would put them on the brink of extinction. 

But at a meeting on Tuesday 20 August it was decided that as of 30 August driver licence renewals would increase 39 per cent to £310. 

It was also approved that vehicle licence renewals would rise 31 per cent to £245, and operator renewals would increase 20 per cent to £2,000. A new three-yearly mandatory driver refresher course costing £50 is also being introduced. As reported on Coventry Live, during a council consultation on the increases, 93 objections were lodged, while a 292-name petition was also handed over by union Unite opposing the new charges. Council officer Sarah Elliott said: “These charges are put forward to make sure the taxi licence process is not putting pressure on the council. “As we stand here today, we are operating in a deficit. “If we stay as we are we would move into a significant deficit.” Unite’s Lee Clinton disagreed with the licence increase, saying: “They [taxi drivers] are struggling at the moment and they are getting £15 sometimes just sitting and waiting as the work is just not coming.” Cllr Becky Gittins also questioned if charges above the rate of inflation were “reasonable”. She added: “I recognise what you said about not charging more than we spend, although I do not think that is necessarily a justification to increase it to the maximum.” Elliott stressed that taxi drivers would likely be paying lower fees if Uber were licenced by the council.

Her thoughts were backed by Cllr Tim Mayer, who said getting Uber licenced would help to “level the playing field” for cabbies. But Ms Elliott said the authority has no control over Uber and is only following legislation in regards to its own licenced cabbies. 

Image: Source; Geograph 

Image: Author; Rich Tea 

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