The Cabinet ultimately rejected three proposals from taxi drivers to increase fares last September, despite drivers arguing that: Bridgend fares were below the Welsh and regional average (and they wanted them closer to the minimum wage), they faced increased costs and needed compensation for â€œdead milesâ€� (where they return from a drop-off in a rural area without a fare on the way back).
As a result of the fares decision, the Cabinet said they would look into establishing a â€œTaxi Forumâ€� to discuss the issue further with drivers.
One of the drivers who submitted a fare proposal, Dario Nelson (website), suggests BCBC had â€œmade no attemptâ€� to establish the promised Taxi Forum, with any talks that did take place only involving â€œ4 or 5 peopleâ€� in the trade and excluding â€œ98% of driversâ€�.
A Taxi Forum was deemed by officers to be the first step towards a formal public consultation on changing fares. It appears that some letters asking taxi drivers for their views on a fare change were only received today, a year on â€“ which has got to be one of the slowest consultations the council have ever undertaken.
Bridgend shares regulatory services with the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff, yet a consultation on a fare change in the Vale went from Cabinet report to public notice to implementation within 8 weeks.
On his website, Dario adds that taxi drivers are already undertaking/considering strike action which reduces the availability of taxis for short journeys at evenings and weekends â€“ though itâ€™s unclear how strong feelings are amongst taxi drivers generally and how many would consider/are taking part. A complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman about the consultation is also mentioned.