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Cost of becoming a cabbie almost doubles

EXCLUSIVE: Simon Binns on the licence fee increase that is ‘beyond need’

Written by . Published on October 8th 2010.

Cost of becoming a cabbie almost doubles

If you want to be a taxi driver in the Manchester, the cost of a licence is set to almost double – and you’ll have to enter a lottery to get one.

The city council is set to increase the price of a Hackney carriage and private taxi licence from £377 to £700, in order to pay for a new allocation system that will see the licenses handed out at random.

The increase in cost is also due to costs associated to an increase in vehicle test fees, due to start in January, and increased testing on older vehicles.

Those applying for a licence with a new vehicle will have to pay £642.50, as it will only need to undergo one service test in the first year.

The increase in fees will mean an extra £19,000 for the council, which it said would pay for the new random allocation process.

The Electoral Reform Services (ERS) will operate the random licence distribution process for the council. The draw of all the applications sent to the ERS will take place in November; application forms are available until October 25.

Kashef Ahmad manger of the Taxi Academy, based in Manchester and which trains would-be cab drivers, said the increase was too much.

“I understand that this council have been quite effective in sorting out a few major matters, such as plating distribution,” he said.

“But I think the increase is beyond need. We don’t have 100% increases in any or most walks of life yet even in the current climate they are heaping on pressure on drivers who may not have the funds to pay for this.

It’s just too much more to add straight away. The council should find better ways of increasing revenue, not just from the poor taxi driver.”

The price hike will only apply to new licence holders, although some existing cabbies have told Manchester Confidential that it’s getting harder to make any money.

“I’m working 60 hours a week and making 35 per cent of what I was earning six years ago,” said one black cab driver, who asked not to be named.

“The price of everything is going up. Petrol, vehicle testing, licences. It’s getting harder.”

Cllr Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council's executive member for the environment, said: "The increase will pay for the introduction of a new random selection system, being introduced to make sure the way we allocate new hackney carriage licences is fairer and better meets the needs of the city.

"Unfortunately, there are costs involved in setting this up, and it was considered fair that people who receive new hackney carriage proprietor licences should pay for this instead of it being passed onto to all hackney licence holders.

“When we asked taxi trade representatives for their views, the majority agreed the cost should be met by new applicants."

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousOctober 8th 2010.

Random selection of drivers does not fill me with confidence. Get rid of the menace that are mini cabs and just have more black cabs on the road. Greedy again MCC

Paul MastersOctober 10th 2010.

It always miffs me when a private hire car zooms up a Bus and Taxi lane and gets away with it

AnonymousOctober 12th 2010.

Get rid of minicabs? Get rid of the black cab drivers who even though fitted with meters still charge you at least double to get home from Manchester at 2am in the morning refusing to turn their meters on. Horrible men.

D KesslerOctober 12th 2010.

Olympic in Chorlton have been charging more to the airport than black cabs for years!

Smyth HarperOctober 12th 2010.

Black cab drivers aren't allowed to drive you anywhere without putting their meter on - and shouldn't get away with it! If it happens to you, take their number and the cab number (both of which they have to display) and fill in the council's complaint form: secure.manchester.gov.uk/…/taxi_complaint_form…

I know it might be a bit of a pain, particularly when it's 2am and you're a bit merry, but there's rules they have to abide by!

paulOctober 13th 2010.

I love that little button on the meters that black cabs have that they press when you get home and the price goes up £2, I wish i had 1 in my job

DibigoOctober 13th 2010.

I hate them all. I hate the ones that you have to barter with. You see the taxi outside the club and you say, hello mate can you take me to such and such a place and he says no. No? Why not? Oh because you are waiting to pick up a group and take them to some backwater town and charge them £30 quid so you don't want my £6. How come at the start of the night you open the taxi door and tell the driver where to take you to, but at 2am it's up to him to decide whether you get home. I could punch a driver now just thinking about it.

Public vs PrivateOctober 14th 2010.

Dibigo, it's called 'having a business sense'. You must be working for the council on a secure income. Well, I for one cannot wait for those public sector cuts and Osborne teaching you how to live your life in the private sector...

David KaufmanOctober 29th 2010.

If this new system for allocating taxi plates is designed to be non discriminatory then, why will the new plate recipients be required to supply a vehicle of less than two years old whilst existing plate holders can supply a vehicle up to ten years old. I call that discrimination

DIBIGONovember 5th 2010.


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