TAXI drivers in Hyndburn will be hit by an increase in fees and several new restrictions if controversial changes to policy are made tomorrow Councillors are set to meet to discuss the plans, which would also see some older cars taken off the road, wraparound advertising banned, and hackney carriages forced to fit ‘swivel’ seats for disabled passengers.
The changes were welcomed by one of the borough’s biggest taxi companies, Max Cabs, who said they would result in a ‘safer fleet’ for its customers. After a public consultation, the council backtracked on plans to take cars of a certain age off the road, but instead said they must meet emissions targets. By September 2017, only cars built after 2009 will meet the council’s new emissions target, taking older cars off the road.
Almost 100 people accused the council of using emissions testing as a ‘backdoor to age limits’ while one said it was an ‘injustice’ taxis were being targeted but buses weren’t.
Hackney carriages will be forced to install swivel seats, and wrap-around advertising will be banned. Adverts will now be restricted to a set size in certain places.
Operator’s fees are also due to go up, from £200 a year to £227 for companies with five vehicles or fewer, and £203 plus £6.70 per vehicle for those with more than five. Renewals will cost £197 and £173 plus £6.70 respectively.
A spokesman for Max Cabs, in Accrington, said: “Uniformity across all companies is a better way forward.”
Executive director for legal and democratic services at Hyndburn Council, Jane Ellis, wrote in a report to the cabinet, which meets tomorrow: “The council does not need to adopt any of the proposed changes to its taxi policy and could continue as it is.”