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Back to drawing board as taxi drivers told planned hike unacceptable

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: June 05, 2014

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TAXI drivers seeking to increase their prices have been sent back to the drawing board, after they were told their request could not be accommodated.

Private hire drivers in East Staffordshire were asked to withdraw their request to East Staffordshire Borough Council and go back with a different suggestion, following discussions on the matter earlier this week.

Officers at the council have said they will work with representatives from the trade to come up an increase which was more ‘acceptable’.

Though the group agreed to do this, representative Mohammed Ikhlaq said he thought it ought to have been negotiated earlier.

“This should have been done before this, but as far as I am concerned, everything goes better when people work together, so I am happy to work with the council to get a result and find something which is reasonable,” he added.

Drivers have not had a tariff increase for several years, despite the fact that petrol costs and the cost of a licence have shot up during that time.

Mr Ikhlaq, chairman of the East Staffordshire Private Hire and Taxi Association, said changes were needed to help the trade survive.

Proposed hikes included a 10p charge for every 15 seconds of waiting, and 50p for each piece of luggage after the first piece. Traders also asked for a £70 fee for anyone who was sick in a taxi.

“It’s something we have to do,” he added.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, a spokesman for the borough council said: “Following some discussion the trade representatives were asked whether they wished to withdraw their request to afford them an opportunity to reconsider the detail of what they are asking for. They agreed to this and withdrew their request.

“Officers will work with them in an attempt to address the concerns raised by the committee and help them come up with a more acceptable proposal.”

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