New plan to thwart rip-off taxi drivers in Rugby

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Taxi drivers in Rugby may be forced to make their meters tamper-proof following concerns that passengers are being ripped off.

The borough council will decide on Monday whether to bring in the new rule, which is in response to complaints of overcharging.

Grev Mills, secretary of Rugby Hackney Owners Drivers Association, is backing the idea. He told the council: “To maintain trust in the trade, we have to address this in whatever manner we can.

“Over several months, we have been getting reports of overcharging by a few drivers .”

The meters would prevent drivers manually changing the rate they charge. They would be fitted with a pre-programmed chip, which would automatically change the rate according to the date and time.

But taxi driver John Cole is against the move. He told the council: “I look on this as a shadow on my integrity.

“I find it quite insulting that I could be asked to replace a perfectly operating meter, which will incur more expense to my ever-decreasing business finances. I have been a taxi proprietor in Rugby for 15 years and have never received a complaint from one of my customers or the borough council.”

Cabbies staged a protest last year against plans to increase the number of taxi licences issued in the borough.

Mr Cole added: “One of the biggest problems in Rugby is that too many outsiders are coming to work in the town who have not got the knowledge needed to do the job.”

The borough council estimates that adapting an existing meter would cost the driver £15. They would be given up to six months to comply with the change. The borough council’s cabinet will discuss the issue at its meeting at the town hall on Monday. It begins at 5.30pm and is open to the public.