TAXIS are now required to adopt council-approved calendar controlled taxi meters to prevent drivers from deliberately overcharging passengers.

In July, Basildon Hackney Carriage Association approached Basildon Council’s licensing committee requesting them to introduce calendar controlled taximeters. This is to stamp out allegations of drivers overcharging passengers as cabbies can set their own fares on current meters.

Basildon Council will set cab fares and tariffs on the new meters to ensure passengers are charged accurately.

The committee report read: “It is believed that the association’s view is informed by complaints made by passengers to other drivers that various methods of overcharging are being employed such as taking a longer route, or by manually switching off settings on the taximeter to reflect a higher starting rate or by adding unwarranted extras such as luggage.”

It will cost up to £300 for drivers to buy, or convert their current meter into a new one.

Councillor Alan Bennett, chairman of the licensing committee, said: “Calendar controlled meters for Hackney Carriage vehicles will ensure customers are treated fairly and charged on the appropriate tariff.

“The meters will eliminate human error and switch to the appropriate council approved tariffs automatically for bank holidays and night time working.”

Peter Holliman, a member of the licensing committee, said: “Sometimes the time and date of the travel is not recorded by the driver. So passengers rely on the integrity of the driver.”

Gary Brand, owner of A&B Taxis, welcomed the move by Basildon Council. He said: “Some meters currently used by taxis do go wrong so that’s why they need to be constantly updated to ensure both drivers and the public are protected.”

The Echo ask Basildon Hackney Carriage Association for a comment, but they did not respond.