Agenda item

Hackney Carriage Table of Fares - Request for Variation


The SPL WRS presented a report detailing a request that had been received for variation to the hackney carriage table of fares.


The Committee was informed that one of the responsibilities of the licensing authority was to set the maximum fare that could be charged by hackney carriage vehicles.  This maximum fare was set out in the hackney carriage table of fares.


Private hire operators could negotiate a fare with a customer in advance of the journey.  Many private hire operators had been increasing fares in order to cover increasing costs.  However, hackney carriage drivers did not have the same flexibility.


In 2018 the Licensing Committee had agreed increases to the hackney carriage table of fares.  Prior to this date, increases had not been made to the maximum fares that could be charged by hackney carriage drivers for many years and Members had requested that this should be reviewed more regularly in future.


The Redditch Taxi Association had reported in November 2021 that their members did not want to vary fares for hackney carriages.  However, since then, fuel costs had increased considerably and in January 2022, the Redditch Taxi Association had approached Officers to request that consideration be given to increasing the fares.  The changes proposed by the Redditch Taxi Association at that time would have resulted in an increase to the maximum fares of 12.3 per cent. 


Fuel costs had subsequently increased further and in March 2022 the Redditch Taxi Association had approached the Council to request further increases for all of the tariffs.  This would mean that the tariffs in the table of fares for the first 880 yards would be:


           £4 for tariff 1

           £5.25 for tariff 2

           £7.20 for tariff 3


In considering the request that had been received from the Redditch Taxi Association Members were asked to note that fuel costs had increased even in the time since the agenda for the meeting of the Licensing Committee had been published.  For this reason, updated information about fuel costs had been issued in a supplementary pack for Members’ consideration.  The figures provided in this supplementary pack contained information obtained from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) weekly list of fuel pump prices.  Members were advised that petrol prices were 22.9 per cent more expensive and diesel prices were 23.7 per cent more expensive than they had been when the Council’s hackney carriage table of fares had previously been set.


The Committee was also asked to note that the request had been made by the Redditch Taxi Association in a context in which there had been increases in the cost of living nationally.  Inflation was approximately 6 per cent although it was anticipated that it would increase to 7 per cent by April 2022. 


In order to change the hackney carriage table of fares, the licensing authority was required to publish proposed variations in a public notice.  Should no objections be received to these proposed increases, the new fares would come into effect.  However, if any objections were received, they would need to be considered by Members and an extra meeting of the Licensing Committee would need to be convened by 21st June 2022.


Comparative figures for a journey of two miles had been provided for other local authorities in the report.  Under the terms of the existing table of fares, the fares charged in Redditch were at the bottom of the table in terms of the scale of the charge.  Should the proposed increases be approved, the fees charged in Redditch would increase to a mid-table average.  However, other Councils were also in the process of reviewing their table of fares for hackney carriages, including Bromsgrove District Council and Wychavon District Council.


In the report on this subject, the SPL WRS had suggested that the changes to the table of fares could come into effect from 23rd May 2022 onwards.  However, it was possible that the Council could act on this by the end of April 2022, subject to receiving no objections.


Following the presentation of the report, Officers responded to Members’ questions in respect of the proposed changes to the hackney carriage table of fares. Clarification was requested about the potential for a mechanism to be introduced by the Council to vary the table of fares in accordance with the mean costs of living.  Officers explained that some Councils used a formula to assist them in setting their table of fares and WRS could investigate the potential to adopt a similar approach in Redditch.  However, in the meantime, given the increasing costs of living, Members were being asked to consider increasing the table of fares as proposed.


Reference was also made to the approach adopted by the Council in terms of the tariffs charged for the first 880 yards and for each subsequent 176 yards and the reasons why additional increases to charges had not been requested for the latter category.  Officers explained that there were many different ways of varying the table of fares.  The figures presented related to the changes that had been requested by the Redditch Taxi Association.  The changes represented an 80 pence increase per tariff for the first 880 yards and then increments up through the tariffs for subsequent distances.


Questions were raised about the responses that might be received once the public notice had been published and the types of feedback that might be classified as objections.  Officers explained that comments would need to be reasonable and relevant.  Any comments raising concerns regarding proposed changes to the fares would be considered objections.  When the table of fares had previously been considered there had been one objection received relating to the use of imperial measurements only in the table of fares and on the taxi metres.  This arrangement had subsequently been addressed and the Council now used both metric and imperial measurements in the table of fares and for the taxi metre.


Clarification was requested regarding the timescales in which the changes to the table of fares could be implemented.  Officers explained that there would be time to advertise the proposed new table of fares and to undertake consultation and, subject to receiving no objections, implement the new table of fares by 22nd April 2022.  However, an agreement to implement the changes as soon as possible would grant the Council greater flexibility to act as soon as possible.


The Committee discussed the proposed changes to the table of fares and there was general consensus that they should increase in line with the proposals made by the Redditch Taxi Association.  This was considered important to enable drivers to make a living and to support the sustainability of the local taxi trade.



1)          the proposed table of taxi fares, as set out in Appendix 1 to the minutes, be advertised as a public notice and objections from the public invited in accordance with the requirements of section 65, Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1976;


2)          if no objections are received from the public within 14 days of publication of the notice that the proposed tariff will come into effect as soon as possible; and


3)          if objections are received in the stated time, that the matter will be considered further at the next meeting of the Licensing Committee, and a decision made as to whether the variations to the table of fares should be made.



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