Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Head of Shared Regulatory Services reported on an application received from the Bridgend County Hackney Association to increase the current Bridgend County Borough Council’s rate of hackney carriage fares.
The Head of Shared Regulatory Services informed Cabinet that the Council may fix or vary the rate of fares for the hire of a hackney carriage under the provisions of Section 65 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1976. Any variation of the fare must be advertised in a local paper and that a period of notice of at least 14 days be given to enable any person to make objections. She stated that the current tariff of fares had been effective since January 2019.
The Head of Shared Regulatory Services reported that the application proposed increases across all tariffs together with the charge for waiting time, highlighting the economic impact on the taxi trade of the Covid-19 pandemic together with the current cost of living crisis. In addition, the Licensing Section had received a number of enquiries from individual licensees asking whether the Council would consider a fare increase because of the cost of living/fuel crisis. Bridgend is currently ranked at 230th of the 349 Councils setting fares. The Head of Shared Regulatory Services informed Cabinet that should it be minded to approve the increase, it will move to the same price range as the Vale of Glamorgan and Carmarthenshire Councils. She highlighted the cost of fuel increases since April 2019 together with rate of inflation increases and that since 2019, there had been a year-on-year decline in the number of driver and vehicle licences issued by the Council, during the pandemic. There had been an increase in the number of drivers licensed, but this had not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
The Cabinet Member Wellbeing and Future Generations in commending the proposal to increase hackney carriage fares, commented on the importance of taxis in the transport infrastructure of the County Borough, balancing that with the needs of residents to get to appointments, where there are inadequate or cancelled bus routes. It was also important to consider the fare increase to deter drivers from applying for licences in neighbouring authorities when a reduction in licences being issued in Bridgend County has already been seen in 2021 and 2022.
The Leader stressed the importance of recognising the cost pressures faced by licensed taxi drivers and if the Council did not increase fares it could lead to a decline in the number of drivers, impacting on services locally. He requested that the Head of Shared Regulatory Services thank the Licensing Team and all associated with the Licensing Committee for its work.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
1. Noted the issues and impacts to taxi fares set out in the report.
2. Approved the application put forward by the Bridgend County Hackney Association with an implementation date of 26 September 2022 (provided that there are no objections).
Authorised the advertisement of the variation in a local newspaper.
Publication date: 18/05/2023
Date of decision: 19/07/2022
Decided at meeting: 19/07/2022 - Cabinet