Birmingham's minicab drivers have staged a protest in the city against a hike in licensing fees of more than 25 per cent.
Private hire operators are unhappy that the annual vehicle and driver licence fees charged by Birmingham City Council has risen from £380 to £478 for a new one-year licence.
The fee for renewal licences, which affects existing cabbies, has also increased from £190 to £240.
While the official Private Hire Association remains in talks with the council over the hike, a group of drivers protested outside the licensing department’s Crystal Court licensing offices in Rocky Lane, Aston, on Tuesday.
Driver Abid Hussain said: “The country is in recession and the council has increased fees. Drivers are fuming.
‘‘We have decided to hold a peaceful demonstration.”
Three years ago private hire drivers, those who run minicabs not the big black cabs, brought the city to a standstill when they held protests over a proposal to make all their cars one colour.
More than 2,000 of them stormed into Villa Park where the licensing committee was hosting a public meeting over the proposal.
But the official Private Hire Association, which represents 2,200 drivers, said there is unlikely to be a repeat demonstration at this stage.
Manager Shakeel Asghar said: “A few drivers are organising a protest but we have not decided to take any action at this stage.
“We are still in talks with the council over the fees.”
The city council has defended the fees saying that they are cheaper than or similar to charges in other major cities and neighbouring boroughs.
A spokesman said: “The renewal cost is rising by just £1 per driver per week. Compared to other expenses drivers incur, such as radio hire, fuel, insurance and vehicle servicing, this still represents a very small proportion of their total expenses.
“All money gathered through licence fees is invested directly back into the service.
“This rise is necessary partly due to fees having being artificially frozen or increased only marginally over the past five years, and therefore not covering costs.”