Ashfield council set to reduce operating fees for many cabbies across the district
Council bosses plan to reduce fees for taxi drivers in Ashfield to encourage more people into the industry and to help those taking their first steps into a career.
A meeting of Ashfield District Council’s licensing committee, set to take place on Tuesday, June 15, will discuss the move – which would also offer free DBS checks for some applicants and a reduction in fees for those driving environmentally-friendly vehicles.
However, in order to benefit, drivers would need to sign up to shorter licence periods – as longer term fees are set to increase.
Since the authority last reviewed its Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licensing fees in 2016, it has been able to make ‘efficiency savings’ and now wants to pass the financial benefit onto drivers and those considering entering the employment area on either a full or part-time basis.
A report to the committee states: “Following a review of the fees and charges relating to the taxi licensing function, it is proposed to revise some of the current fees and charges, in light of efficiency savings made by the licensing team, that will help reduce costs faced by new applicants and existing licence holders relating to taxi & private hire services, whilst also ensuring full cost recovery for the services provided by the licensing authority.
“Whilst the fees and charges have not been amended since 2016, the licensing team has been able to offset any increases in its own costs due to the increased volume of new driver and new vehicle applications, through efficiencies, whilst not increasing staff numbers.”
Under the proposals, the cost of a new one-year driving licence fee is set to reduce from £217.90 to £180 and a two-year fee from £232.55 to £220 – while the three-year new licence will increase from £247.20 to £260.
Meanwhile, renewed one-year fees will drop from £183,49 to £160, while the two and three-year licences will increase from £198.14 to £200 and £212.80 to £240 respectively.
Meanwhile, the knowledge test will drop from £44 to £25, the safeguarding course and test from £30 to £15, and the advanced DBS Check from £44 to £40.
The DBS fees are also waived for any new applicants who are resident within the Ashfield district.
Vehicle licence fees are also set to drop from £359.90 to £320 for Hackney Carriages and £344.10 to £300 for private hire – with a further £30 reduction for drivers using either a low emission or wheelchair-friendly vehicle.
Private hire operator fees are also set to reduce from £288.40 to £210, £366.37 to £320 and £444.29 to £440 for one, two and three-year new licences, and increase from £522.22 to £540 and £600.14 to £650 for four and five-year new and renewed licences.
“The offer of a one-year new driver licence, and one-year renewal licence may help those tentatively taking their first steps into becoming licensed drivers, and allow those who do not necessarily view being a licensed driver as a full-time occupation, to apply with a lower up-front fee being paid,” the report states.
If the proposal gets the green light next week, the new fees will go out for a 28-day consultation process.
If no objections are made, the variation shall come into operation on August 2.