4:00 PM August 11, 2022
Stowmarket taxi drivers have warned that new vehicle age requirements will ‘rip the industry to shreds’.
Mid Suffolk District Council has introduced requirements for drivers who first apply to have a safe vehicle less than eight years old.
They are also increasing the frequency of checks on fossil fuel taxis over 10 years old.
Arrow Taxi Services co-director in Stowmarket, Darren Riseborough, fears it could bankrupt many taxi operators, saying: ‘The industry has suffered enormously during the pandemic and this is the final blow.
He added: “We feel like we’ve been sidelined for a number of years, so this latest development is incredibly frustrating.”
A Mid Suffolk District Council spokesperson said: ‘We believe the requirements strike a reasonable balance between protecting the public and the needs of commerce.
The possibility of a strike was raised at a meeting of 30 taxi company directors on Wednesday August 10.
Mr Riseborough attended the meeting and said that of the remaining 109 plaques at Stowmarket, 55 agreed that these requirements will negatively impact their industry. »
He added: “A colleague of mine bought some vehicles which are now denied a taxi license which means he lost a lot of money.
“There should at least be a warning period where we have the opportunity to regroup and redesign our fleets.”
On a personal note, Mr Riseborough also said he would seriously consider stepping back from the taxi industry if this new legislation is upheld, saying ‘it would tear the industry to shreds’.
The District Council spokesperson added: “We recognize the role our taxi business plays as a vital part of our local rural transport system and the challenges the industry faces.
“Ultimately, however, we are responsible for ensuring that our policies not only meet the required standards set by the Department for Transport, but also protect the public and the environment who travel by taxi.”