Taxi drivers

Taxi drivers hit by covid to get financial boost

Private drivers and hackney drivers will not see their license fees rise in a Merseyside borough this year after seeing their income hit by covid for ‘longer than expected’.

Permit fees for drivers were expected to rise following a review of Knowsley’s private hire and hackney license program due to take place this year.

However, at a Knowsley Council Licensing Committee meeting this evening, January 27, officers said the exam had now been postponed until next year.

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Due to the impact of covid on drivers’ incomes, issues with licensing delays and staff shortages as well as the delay in testing, there will be no increase in license fees this year.

Knowsley Council security, resilience and community protection manager Brian Toolan also said the freeze would also allow time for the introduction of major changes involving a new online system for apps. Taxi.

A hybrid system previously introduced as a “workaround” in the wake of the pandemic ran into issues that “resulted in delays and a number of complaints”.

Speaking at the Licensing Committee, which was held at the Huyton Municipal Building, Mr Toolan said: ‘We currently have a small deficit from what we had planned (for taxi licenses) and the proposal was that we would increase fees this year as part of a three-year cycle.

“Having reassessed the situation, the proposal now is that there will be no increase this year and we will do a full review of the service in the next fiscal year.”

Other license fees, including for street traders, will also be frozen.

Cllr Tommy Rowe said: ‘I fully support the proposal not to increase charges, for shopkeepers, taxi drivers, given what has happened over the past 18 months I really think this will have a positive effect on a lot of people there.”

The committee approved the recommendations which will now go to cabinet for ratification.

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