Crewe and Nantwich are experiencing a shortage of taxi operators. This comes after 150 of them departed when their businesses were seriously damaged by the pandemic.
Cheshire East Council licensing team leader, Kim Evans, reported that the problem is a local and national one. London as a whole has 4,000 fewer operators.
She noted that the shutdown of the night economy following the constant lockdowns impacted the drivers’ earnings.
Drivers were conflicted with the profitability of staying and renewing licenses in a period when online orders and deliveries had skyrocketed.
Taking this into consideration, most drivers chose to take delivery jobs and have not returned to their taxi business.
The council raised this issue during a Cheshire East licensing committee meeting while seeking to provide solutions to the same. It proposed raising the taxes and levies for hackney carriages and private hire cars.
According to Mrs. Evans, there are no plans to raise operator license fees this year.
Whether one is seeking for a new license to be granted, or renew an existing one, the cost will remain the same.
This, to some people might seem like a small step. But iit is the least the council can do to encourage more people to apply.
She did, however, state that they would have to increase some levies and charges to offset the cost of service provision.
This includes the cost of staffing, plates, materials, and other accessories surrounding the licensing procedures.
Additionally, the committee is proposing increases in other license types.
These include vehicle licenses and operator licenses, as well as increasing test fees and car inspection fees.
Currently, the license fee stands at £315 per annum for either a hackney carriage or a private hire car.
It is proposed that this be increased to £320.
In addition, a £5 rise in the test fee is warranted, bringing it from £80 to £85.
A five-year private hire driver’s license will also be increased from £360 to £375.
But these suggestions must be deliberated upon and subjected to public scrutiny.
Kim Evans, the licensing team leader was allowed to broadcast the proposed costs after the committee voted in its favor.
It was also decided that the director of environment and neighborhood services be granted delegated power to assess any complaints submitted and, in cooperation with the chairman of the licensing committee, determine the final costs payable. Actualizing these solutions will incentivize more individuals to return to the taxi business.