Bolsover District Council has set the highest cost for new applicants of Hackney carriage taxi licences in Derbyshire as it aims to ensure drivers can be thoroughly checked and vetted as safe drivers.
The council approved the plan during its full council meeting last Wednesday, October 7, after announcing fees for Hackney carriage applicants would be increasing to £1,240.
By comparison, Chesterfield Borough Council charges £142 plus a £10 surcharge, Derbyshire Dales charges is £290, NE Derbyshire is £214 and Amber Valley is £409.
But Bolsover’s licensing co-ordinator John Chambers told the meeting instead of a one-year lifespan, changes would now apply for three-years for drivers and private hire operator licences would remain in force for five years.
He said: “The £1,240 is a lot higher than others in Derbyshire. Changes in policy are so we can have powers for drivers and operators to provide criminal records, DVLA details, and it allows us to make immigration checks and other checks which we feel are appropriate.
“We can’t make a profit for what we charge and if a profit is made it goes back into the taxi licensing service.
“We have a policy that every Hackney Carriage applicant goes to full council committee and that means greater costs involving up to 15 members, principle solicitors’ costs, committee and minor costs. This brings up the fees well over what others charge in Derbyshire.”
Councillor Stephen Fritchley said that the increase in Bolsover would be making a statement that with all the changes these operators are fit and proper and this should reassure the public too.
Council Chief Exceutive Officer Dan Swaine said: “I’m conscious taxi driving is a high issue for local authorities and we nee to be staisfied safeguards are proper and fees reflect particular costs incurred.”