Shropshire

Shropshire taxi licence applications rise by 400%

A West Midlands council has said it is being "inundated" with taxi licence applications from drivers living outside their area.

Conservative-controlled Shropshire Council said applications increased by 400% over the last calendar year.

More than 80% of these came from applicants based outside Shropshire, the council said.

Councillor Steve Charmley said: "We are cracking down on that and revoking licences."

A hackney carriage vehicle licence in Shropshire costs £130 compared to £220 in Birmingham.

Councillor Charmley said: "Because our prices are low compared to the surrounding authorities we seem to be inundated with applications from out of county drivers."

He said a lot of applications came from taxi drivers in the Birmingham area who say they are operating in Bridgnorth.

Patrick Nolan, a Shropshire based taxi licence consultant, said drivers were taking advantage of a legal ruling in 2010 which ruled that licensed hackney carriage drivers could operate as private hire drivers anywhere in the UK, regardless of where their licence was issued.

Mr Nolan said he feared that if Shropshire Council rules that drivers they licence must pick up most of their business in the county it could end up hurting local drivers.

"At lot of Birmingham based drivers will come back into Shropshire and it will hit trade for drivers who are born, bred and live in Shropshire," he said.

He said the current licence cost was "a bargain" and wanted to see it raised to £550.

Shropshire council's Strategic Licensing Committee is due to look at the issue of taxi licences at a meeting on 17 January.

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