Powys has a fifth fewer taxi drivers than before the pandemic, Powys Council believes.

Taxi licence fees are set to be reduced in 2022/23, based on the average costs over the last two years. It comes at an estimated cost to the council of £9,000.

But one councillor suggested that the fees should come down further.

Cllr Gwilym Williams said: “Some taxi drivers tell me they are packing up due to fees and Covid.”

He asked how many drivers were there in Powys and whether their numbers had gone up or down.

Senior taxi licensing officer Sue Jones believed there were around 20 per cent fewer than before the pandemic because there had been a drop off in vehicle fee payments.

Ms Jones said: “We are still getting new applications coming through which is heartening.

“It’s been a hard time, business is slow and there’s not so much work as the nigh-time economy is quiet due to restrictions.”

Cllr Gwilym Williams said “I still think these fees are too dear.

“People are more scattered around in Powys.”

He explained that taxi drivers struggled because once they dropped a fare off at a destination, “that will be it”.

Cllr Williams believed that in other parts of Wales – especially cities and larger towns – taxi drivers are more likely to pick up another fare when dropping someone off.

Cllr Williams said: “This Covid is not going away and because of the fees we’re going to lose more, because of the trade they, taxi drivers, feel it’s not worth it.”

He was concerned there could be a lack of taxis to take children to school in parts of Powys.

Ms Jones told the committee that the fees cover all the work the council did to process the licences.

Committee chairman, Cllr Karl Lewis said:  “There is a certain amount of work out there regardless.”

Cllr Lewis hoped that Welsh Government Health Measures in place to protect the Welsh public against coronavirus, which affect “pubs and restaurants” could be lifted soon, to help drum up more trade for taxi drivers.

Councillors went on to vote in favour of the taxi fee reduction with 14 votes in favour and two votes against.

The fees changes now need to be advertised in the local press allowing a 28-day period for objections to be lodged.

If there are no objections they will come into force on April 1.