Taxi row over ‘unfair’ station licence charge

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A TRAIN company is planning to police taxis picking up people from a station forecourt because of a dispute it is having with drivers over annual permits.

London Midland believes that most of the drivers picking people up from Hemel Hempstead railway station have been doing so illegally because they have not paid £593 for a permit.

The drivers have been refusing to pay because they claim the charge is unfairly high and it is not being policed properly.

Chairman of the Dacorum Taxi Drivers Association Tabrez Khan said: “The issue is causing trouble with drivers who have paid for the permit and drivers who haven’t.

“We are not refusing to pay, we just want a fair price. London Midland is charging taxi drivers between £400 and £500 at other stations.

“Even at Watford Junction, which has more trains an hour than Hemel Hempstead, they charge less.

“If London Midland enforce permits we will pick up people from the road outside the station.”

The dispute has been going on for more than a year since London Midland hired Meteor to enforce the permit scheme.

Driver Terry Khan said: “It’s open to all taxis, which is about 200 cars, but there is no guarantee of getting a fare so many drivers don’t work there any more.”

Driver Bill Garret said that the number of cars on the forecourt was causing a health and safety hazard.

A London Midland spokesman said: “The drivers who haven’t paid for a permit are operating illegally so we are working with the British Transport Police to ensure that this activity ceases.”