There will be no increase in fees and charges for licensed taxi and PHV drivers in the Basingstoke borough this year, the council has revealed.
The decision has been taken to freeze costs for hackney carriage and private hire operators, despite the loss of income for the authority.
Councillors approved the move - although concerns were raised, including that the decision shows ‘inconsistency’ in addressing the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
Discussing the fees and charges report for the coming year, council officer Robert Draper told members of the licensing committee on Monday February 22 that the overall increase in licence fees will be approximately 3 per cent from April.
This has been decided to reflect the council’s costs and budget strategy.
However, he added that the decision had been taken to exclude hackney carriage and private hire operators from this hike, due to the ‘difficult year’ they have had and ‘great concern’ that many have left the trade.
Mr Draper said: “There is no change in the fees for hackney carriage or private hire vehicles. This will have a budgetary impact on the council. We will be losing an income of £4,100 pounds.”
However, Mr Draper justified the move by explaining that the past year has seen a significant drop-out of taxi drivers in the trade - with the numbers of hackney carriage drivers falling to almost the numbers seen before the council’s cap on numbers was scrapped.
He added: “But of greater concern is we are aware of a number of drivers and operators who have withdrawn for the trade in the last year for so, so we are predicting a budgetary pressure of £10,000 in reduction in income.
“Our key concern is much more towards those drivers and operators.”