A REPRESENTATIVE for taxi drivers in Burton has made a final plea to council chiefs ahead of a crunch meeting which could see hikes in licence fees approved.
Mohammed Ikhlaq, chairman of the East Staffordshire Private Hire and Taxi Association, has laid out how badly the trade will be hit if proposed changes to licences for taxis are given official approval by the borough council’s licensing committee on Tuesday, September 10.
The proposed changes will see the renewal of licences for private hire and hackney carriage drivers increase from £95.70 to £145.
Mr Ikhlaq, who made representations to the council on behalf of the taxi trade, said: “The taxi trade is a critical part of the local economy but the recent increase in expenditure has already had a negative effect on the stability of the trade.
“The cost of insurance is increasing and is now over £2,000 per annum.
“Alongside this, purchasing a used vehicle costs an average of £6,000.
“Furthermore, the maintenance for each vehicle costs the trade approximately £2,000. This already accumulates to £10,000 before the wheels are even in motion.
“If we were to add the cost of licensing, using the figures from the current proposal, the expenditure would be outrageous as it would lead to 52 per cent increase in some licences.
“The taxi trade would have to pay an additional £30,000.”
Mr Ikhlaq said taxi firms would be ‘hugely affected’ by this rise and admitted the extra costs would have to be passed on to the public, which would be ‘unjust’.
He added: “After speaking to the general public, they agree that the proposal is shocking.
“We understand that licensing fees may need to be increased but we feel it would be more beneficial to increase these fees gradually, possibly over a three year period, rather than at once.”