Agenda item

Installation of Meters in Hackney carriages and the Setting of Fares

(Director of Corporate Support Services) To consider the attached report


The Committee received a report for considering fixing fare tariffs and requiring all hackney carriages to have a taximeter installed.  This had resulted from a request by the Epping Forest Taxi Association representing some independent taxi drivers in the district. The Committee noted that a consultation had been carried out on the setting of a tariff and 131 respondents agreed that the Authority should set the fares; 51 were against the proposition.


Officers tabled a full report detailing the survey and the results achieved.


It was noted that a tariff fixed by an Authority may permit different rates to be charged at different times of the day and on Bank Holidays or other specified days. Notice of the fares must be published in a local newspaper and deposited at the Council’s Offices for inspection.  Any objections must be considered and the original or amended fare tariff would then come into effect. Charges would only apply to journeys that take place within the District.


The Committee noted that taximeters could be fitted through a garage or an independent dealer. However, the Council was looking to go out to tender for the fixing and calibrating of meters and find the best deal available. The cost and work on individual vehicles would be paid for by the vehicle proprietors.


Councillor Angold-Stephens noted that the taxi drivers wanted to see the meters installed. Councillor Boyce commented that it was a good idea for both the Authority and the drivers. Councillor Smith wanted to know what the cost would be to the drivers and any additional costs involved. The Assistant Director (Legal Services), Alison Mitchell, replied that the Council did not have the expertise to install and calibrate the meters and intended to put this out to contract. Therefore, officers could only know the full costs after the tendering process had been gone through. She was expecting the basic costs to be around £200 to £245 to purchase and have a meter fitted. The meter will then have to be calibrated on a regular basis. The successful bidder would be the sole supplier with a contract period of about three years when it would be re- tendered to test the market.


Councillor Startin what the time frame would be for this. She was told that a report would be going to the next Licensing Committee along with one about progress made on taxi ranks. Tariff prices had not yet been considered.


Councillor Dodeja asked if mileage could be displayed on the meters. He was informed that it would depend on the sophistication of the meter installed; however, the price per mile would be set and the meters calibrated regularly.


Councillor McEwen asked how the council could enforce this if some taxis did not install a meter. Ms Mitchell said that all taxis were inspected half yearly, and that there would be a grace period given to install the meters.


Councillor Waller said there was an argument that introducing fixed prices reduces competition, especially with private hire vehicles. However, it was pointed out that the advantage of Hackney Carriages was that they could be hailed on the street, although private hire vehicle rates could be negotiated over the phone.


Referring to recommendation one of the report, Councillor Smith asked if taxis outside the district would have to have meters. She was told that only cabs licensed by EFDC would have to have them. Councillor Smith asked that this be made clearer in that recommendation as it was ambiguously worded at present. This was agreed.


Councillor Smith went on to say that we should be very clear about the timetable we should be working to for this. It should include the timescale for the tender period and allow for the statutory advertising period and the installation period. In order to spread out the time scale for installation, she suggested that it be implemented on the date of each taxi renewal of their licence. Officers agreed it should be a rolling process.


Councillor Angold-Stephen asked that the tender document should ask for a range of prices for different types of meters; giving us a range of options.




(1)               That the Senior Licensing Officer carries out a consultation with a view to recommending a fare tariff for journeys within the district for EFDC licensed Hackney Carriages;

(2)               That meters are fixed to Hackney Carriages licensed in this area and that they are inspected on a regular basis;

(3)               That a company is appointed through the Council’s tendering process to carry out this work; and

(4)               That a further report be brought back to the next Licensing Committee reporting on progress made.

Supporting documents: