Taxi Licence Fees Set to Rise

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The costs of living increase are hitting all business sectors at present. Transportation of all types is particularly affected, with rocketing fuel prices pushing up prices for the goods on our supermarket shelves, and the price of public transport. Taxi drivers in many parts of the UK are facing even steeper price rises, with Councils passing on the charges for background checking on drivers onto the drivers, who then in turn, put up prices for their passengers.

 

DBS Checks and Tax Conditionality Checks

In April 2022, a new check on drivers was introduced, increasing the administrative burden. A tax conditionality check makes sure that anyone applying for a licence to operate a black taxi or minicab is properly registered with HMRC as self-employed for tax purposes. Prospective drivers who need to have a tax conditionality check must register with the Government Gateway site, then go through their portal to request a tax check code number to enter on the licence application. Codes are only valid for 120 days, so this process will have to be repeated every time a driver applies for a new licence.

Criminal record checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service are not new and taxi drivers have been required to go through the enhanced disclosure process which is the most detailed level of all checks. Previously, drivers required to complete a DBS check every three years when they renewed their licence. In April 2022 this changed, and the new requirement is that all taxi drivers have an enhanced DBS check every six months. As there is no law stating that the taxi company must pay for any regulatory checks for their drivers, having to pay out for enhanced DBS checks twice per year is also going to push up the costs for drivers and passengers too.

 

Change to Six-Monthly DBS Checks

The move to checking taxi drivers every six months is concerned with keeping passengers as safe as possible. The general feeling among law makers was that checking drivers every three years was just too long between checks. If arrested or charged, the Police will inform the licencing authorities about the offence. This could lead to the immediate withdrawal of a taxi licence in serious cases. Councils also want to foster a greater sense of trust in the sector, and give users of taxis peace of mind that the person behind the wheel has been checked thoroughly and regularly to guarantee passenger safety.

 

Licencing Fees

There is no standard price for taxi licence fees across the UK, with the system being managed by local authorities. The cost for a 3-year taxi driver licence can be anything between £250 and £350 for the driver, with additional fees applying to the vehicle being used for private hire. Some Councils levy additional fees for knowledge tests for drivers, or tests of written or spoken English which usually apply to the first application only. If a driver wishes to be registered to operate in more than one local Council area, then they may have to pay two sets of licensing fees.