Pembrokeshire County Council has had to pay more than £8,000 in costs and back down over controversial new taxi rules.
Represented by the National Private Hire Association (NPHA), drivers from ten local firms were successful in a recent appeal against conditions first imposed by the council last year.
“Some of the regulations they brought in were bizarre,” said Brian Rowland, secretary of the NPHA. “We received numerous complaints and in the end had little choice but to challenge the policies.”
The issue began last September when a ruling was brought in preventing firms from registering vehicles as taxis if they were more than five years old, while new MOT regulations were also introduced for taxis able to carry trailers. Earlier this year, restrictions were then imposed on the use of six or eight-seater vehicles that required fold-down seats.
However, the NPHA said that as a result of the appeal, regulations concerning vehicle age and fold-up seats were amended or quashed and MOT rules were relaxed. The council was also ordered to pay £8,189.54, amounting to 75% of the total costs.
“The restrictions imposed were affecting our current contracts,” said Steve Barlow of Jeff’s Cabs.
“If we had lost one of our current vehicles we would have had to replace it with a five-seater and wouldn't have fulfilled bookings," he added.
One driver, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was glad authorities had “fallen flat on their face”.
“Times are difficult enough as it is at the moment without people trying to bring in ridiculous new measures for the sake of it.”
A council spokesman said the magistrates’ decision would be discussed by the full licensing committee on April 28th.