Welwyn Hatfield cabbies pay 50 per cent more for licences than in neighbouring boroughs

PUBLISHED: 09:24 28 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:24 28 March 2017

Welwyn Hatfield cabbies are unhappy with regulations set by the borough council

Welwyn Hatfield cabbies are unhappy with regulations set by the borough council

Archant

Welwyn Hatfield taxi drivers are forced to pay at least 50 per cent more for their licences than cabbies in neighbouring boroughs, it has emerged.

Drivers in the borough – who are licenced by Welwyn Hatfield Council – must cough up £450 every three years, compared to £300 and £245/£295 (resident/non-resident) in Stevenage and St Albans respectively.

Dozens of cabbies slammed the local authority at a GMB Union meeting last month, where they claimed its regulations are crippling their livelihoods.

Local taxi driver Asad Miah said the council should lower its badge price to ease the strain caused by drivers from other boroughs operating in the area.

“We are paying higher prices for the badge, it is not fair and is affecting our livelihood really badly,” he added.

Another damaging regulation according to the cabbies was “car life-span” rules, with Welwyn Hatfield vehicles having an eight-year-old maximum age, while there is no limit in the other areas.

“It’s absolutely shocking,” said Welwyn Hatfield cabbie Garry Laws. “Surely there should be parity between neighbouring councils.

“They shouldn’t be allowed to say your car can only be eight years old, while another says you can have a car any age.”

Welwyn Hatfield drivers must also pay for medicals every three years, compared to every six years in St Albans until they are 60.

In Stevenage – after an initial assessment upon being licenced – no further tests are required until the driver is 45, followed by one every five years.

In addition, the minimum fare for Welwyn Hatfield drivers is £2.50 – 50p less than Stevenage and 20p behind St Albans.

Cabbie Ken Norris said: “They are doing absolutely nothing to help us out, they never have done.

“I have been a taxi driver for 30 years and they have never been there to help.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Car age regulations and driver checks are in place to protect the public from harm.

“The license fee was increased in 2016 for the first time in ten years.

“Unlike Stevenage and St Albans, we employ a dedicated officer who works to support the trade in many ways, including enforcement, which we’ve increased in direct response to calls from drivers.

“Taxi law is set at national level and we echo concerns about consistency of standards across boroughs and continue to work with drivers and the unions to help respond to issues wherever we can.”


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