There are two main types of vehicle

WITH reference to your recent story on the taxi dispute in Weston here are some of the issues that the public may not be aware of: In North Somerset there are two main types

WITH reference to your recent story on the taxi dispute in Weston here are some of the issues that the public may not be aware of: In North Somerset there are two main types of vehicles available for the public to hire. One is the public hire Hackney Carriage, the other is private hire. The vehicles look similar or indeed can look the same except a hackney carriage will have a taxi sign on its roof and a red council information plate on the rear off-side, whereas the private hire has no roof sign and information plates front and rear.Simple enough, you think, except that a taxi, since the introduction of the dual plate system, can also be for hire through a private hire company. The tariff for the hackney is set by the council, and pre-set automatically on the meter. The tariff on private hire is set by the company, although by law if a taxi is being used as a private hire the meter should be used, indicating the council set rate, even if only the private hire rate is being charged. Here then is one of the major problems. The private hire rate is unrealistic, the drivers do more miles, more hours, more wear and tear, etc., they also pay about £90 a week for the privilege.Some of the older vehicles are hired out by the companies, and some of our more vocal drivers. This leads to the older higher mileage vehicles being on the road 24/7 which is why the council wish to make changes to age limits, and some drivers don't. Another sub-industry is the taxi school runs, again used by the council at a tariff under their own set meter rates. Bearing all the above in mind, maybe the way forward could be: first registration three years old or newer; 10 year vehicle life; one council test a year. All vehicles run on council meter rate which takes account of inflation. Relocation of taxi ranks, Regent Street is very dangerous. Council subsidised loan scheme, to enable drivers to invest in their future (after all, the council subsidised some bus routes that are in direct competition). Water standpipe at ranks so vehicles can be kept clean.R M SANDY - Park Court, Weston.


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