Tariff troubles spark signs for passengers

Hackney drivers have been subjected to abuse over fares.
Hackney drivers have been subjected to abuse over fares.
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Town hall chiefs have agreed to attach a new condition to taxi licences in order to clarify fare differences.

The move was approved by Blackpool Council’s public protection sub-committee after some cabbies warned they had faced abuse.

Disparities had arisen after some private hire firms began offering discounted fares, while the black cabs were sticking to the council-set rate.

But they claimed they were being accused of over-charging because it means in some taxis, the meter starts at £2.60, while in others it starts at £2.

Chairman of licensing Coun Norman Hardy said: “We accepted something had to be done but the only action we could legally take was to put a condition on the licence because it is not illegal to discount a fare.”

The new condition states any taxi operating a different tariff must display signs which explain the situation and which are clearly visible to passengers.

Councillors approved a recommendation which says: “Where the vehicle operates to different tariffs clear and visible signage must be displayed explaining the reasons for the differences.”

The Blackpool Licensed Operators Taxi Association (BLOTA), which represents Hackney cabs, had said they would prefer the council to force everyone to work to the council tariff, with discounts offered at the end of the journey.

But following the meeting, representatives said they were happy with the outcome.

Bill Lewtas, of BLOTA, said: “Councillors considered the issue of abuse and violence to taxi drivers caused by confusion arising from some taxi/private hire drivers operating their vehicles on a reduced tariff.

“It was noted the council accepted our view, and expressed it in writing, that the ideal solution would be for all drivers to operate on the same tariff and to then reduce this by offering a discount if this is appropriate.”

But he added he was pleased the committee had agreed to the signage.

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