DfT ‘considering its policy’ around potential support for taxi drivers buying train station permits

The Department for Transport (DfT) is ‘considering its policy’ around potential financial support for taxi drivers who purchased train station taxi rank permits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the drastic fall in numbers travelling, some taxi drivers have been pushed to renew station rank permits or risk losing the opportunity to work from the stations in the future.

East Midlands Railway (EMR) were recently criticised for continuing to charge rank permit fees. Drivers currently pay an annual fee of £618 to EMR for access to their railway ranks, but with the coronavirus pandemic taking its toll on the industry and on travel as a whole, drivers had asked for the annual fee to be frozen.

Tan Dhesi, Labour MP for Slough and Shadow Transport Minister, wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps to discuss further the topic of Railway Station taxi rank permits.

The Slough MP probed Shapps via a written question asking whether his Department has had discussions with train operating companies or Network Rail on refunds or price reductions for taxi permits issued at railway stations.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister of State for Transport, responded saying: “The Department has had no discussions with Network Rail regarding refunds or price reductions for taxi permits.

“Whilst the Department has not had discussions with train operating companies on specific proposals for refunds or price reductions, several have raised potential financial support to taxi drivers accessing railway stations at this time.

“The Department is considering its policy in this area.”