Protecting public is main priority says councillors after decision to install meters in taxis

Fenland District Council has issued a statement on the decision by its Licensing Committee yesterday about the installation of taximeters in Hackney carriages.

“Taximeters are fitted to Hackney carriages in all neighbouring areas as well as those areas considered similar to Fenland by the Audit Commission.

“The Committee heard that overcharging by Hackney drivers is common. Indeed, Members were presented with a list of recent journeys with fares that showed that substantial overcharge element.

“It was clear from the evidence and representations made that most short journeys are being overcharged and that customers may well see the cost come down when meters are fitted.

“It was also clear to the Committee that drivers working out fees from a milometer is almost impossible and leads to the public being overcharged.

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“The only representations against meters came from the Wisbech and District Taxi Drivers Association, which represents 20-25 per cent of drivers. Many drivers in March fitted them voluntarily several months ago and made representations to keep them. They are fully supportive of meters in Hackney carriages.

“Hackney carriage drivers can charge less than the price shown on the meter, but it is against the law to charge over the tariff.

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“If a customer wants to agree a fixed fee, Private Hire operators are permitted to agree one with the customer prior to the journey.

“The Committee felt that protecting the public is its main priority and that people should have confidence in the service provided by Hackney Carriage operators. That includes paying the tariff permitted by law and not being overcharged. This accords with Licensing’s ‘Community Impact’ objective.

“The meters are supplied by the owner of the vehicle and calibrated by the Council.

“The Committee decided that meters should be fitted to all new Hackney carriages immediately and to all existing ones by April 1.”

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