PLANS to introduce a £1 charge for taxi drivers to pick up passengers from the city’s cruise ships will go to public consultation.

Southampton City Council’s Cabinet last night debated the new levy, which was agreed by Associated British Ports (ABP), and considered an amendment to the table to hackney fares to allow cabbies to recoup the charge from passengers.

As reported by the Daily Echo yesterday, pictured left, the proposals were drawn up to fund new marshals for the city’s cruise terminals after a series of rows between cabbies at the ranks.

But the plans were met by criticism from members of the taxi trade, who warned it will be “unpopular” with passengers.

The proposals are set to be introduced on April 1 after ABP said the charge will go ahead regardless of the Cabinet’s decision to amend the table last night.

Ian Hall, chairman of South-ampton Hackney Association, said the charges will give “stability in the docks” and improve the “standard of vehicles”.