Newport cabbies ponder appeal as taxi fees hike approved
THE LEADER of Newport's cab drivers said the planned fees increase could "destroy" them and they would consider appealing against them.
Newport city council's licensing committee approved proposals to increase taxi fees.
The committee agreed to the introduction of new fee rates including the taxi plates on the back of cabs, in order to close up a potential deficit of £65,000 in the licensing budget.
Lionel Morris, the chairman of the Newport Hackney Taxi Driver's Association (NHTDA) said his members felt the new fees would be too much for them, and the council should be taking some responsibility for the deficit and not put all the money on drivers. He said: "This deficit will destroy us."
Speaking to the Argus after the meeting Mr Morris said: "We're definitely not happy with this decision. We will be seeking further legal advice and will consider appealing."
Defending the move, Head of public protection and environmental services for Newport Helen Wilkie said: "We are heading for a £65,000 deficit and the council needs to make a decision as to whether to continue to subsidise the taxi licensing service or break even.
"We're not trying to recuperate previous losses but are looking forward now. "It does appear as a significant increase to drivers, but it is still less than our neighbouring authorities."
Cllr Cliff Suller who chaired the meeting said: "In the past we have been able to be generous, but unfortunately we are now past the realms of being able to be generous. "We need to address the financial situation we cannot get away from."
He added: "Everybody around the table is mindful of the situation for taxi drivers and realise the pain it might bring."
Alisha Harris who was representing hackney carriage drivers said: "In some cases fees could be going up by 100 per cent.
"You need to think of the livelihood of the drivers. Many with older vehicles could go out of business with these new fees."
The rises will be higher for older cars than younger ones. Currently a hackney carriage vehicle, which is more than 12-years-old, costs £76 for a six-month licence and this will increase to £155 for six months.