Council licensing charges are driving taxi drivers round the bend
By Bill Heaney
West Dunbartonshire’s taxi drivers are the latest group of small businesses to complain they are being priced out of business by licensing charges being imposed by the local council.
Driver William Mack says it is “an absolute disgrace to every taxi driver/owner” that the council has hiked their annual badge charges up £10 £273.50, which makes them the most expensive in Scotland.
He claims plate holders have been “shafted” for a £60 increase on their three-year taxi licence to £614- “a total kick in the teeth for us drivers slaving away for barely the minimum wage.”
Driver Marcin Rys claims: “The guys in a car wash make more money now.”
Raymond Kirkland William Mack shared mate. Total joke, £10.50 increase in the badge is a joke considering the additional income the council get from private hire in both Clydebank and Dumbarton.
The drivers’ plea for the Council to back off has been met with some cynicism on social media, however.
Ian Joyce said: “Don’t worry William Mack that big fare rise that’s coming will pay for it.”
William Mack said it was time all taxi owners and drivers got against the Council and organised a public protest against the increases.
He said: “We’ve got to think here in three years’ time our badge will be £303 and god knows what our plates will be. If this continues a lot of guys will be out a job. It’s getting harder all the time and a licensing department which I’m sure is meant to make sure you are at least making a living.
“They are not helping us whatsoever, and in my eyes, they are totally against us.
“It’s high time we got together before it’s too late.”
Thomas McGinley said: “These council fees must be the dearest in Britain. Something will need to be done.”
James Monaghan suggested all drivers should go on strike for a day or protest at the council offices.
Compared with Glasgow where the fees are £162 for 3 YEARS for a driver’s badge and £402 for taxi licence for 3 YEARS this is “a complete joke,” according to another driver.
West Dunbartonshire’s fees at £614 are more expensive than all Glasgow fees put together, not including their YEARLY badge.
Driver George Dunn said: “Think it’s time to all get together on this. Nothing will be done if we don’t step up to the plate and discuss this amongst ourselves.
“Striking for a day won’t make much of a dent in our earnings as we struggle to make £60/70 a day anyway.”
Ian Arthur told the drivers: “As you will know, I have just been told I require a second hand dealers licence for my antique shop in the galleries at the cost of £1423 pounds for three years, which is seven times more expensive than Argyll and Bute council.”
At least one taxi driver has lodged a freedom of information request to find out how many councillors have small businesses and how many of them actually pay their dues in regard to them.
West Dunbartonshire Council refuse to comment to The Democrat.