Fares to rise for borough's hackney carriages

It is the first rise in seven yearsIt is the first rise in seven years
It is the first rise in seven years
A first fare rise in seven years for some of the borough's taxi fleet has been approved by the town hall.

Councillors backed plans to increase base tariffs following a request from the borough’s hackney carriage drivers.

Other news: More patients go to borough's A&E unitDriver representative Charles Oakes told the council’s regulation committee his colleagues wanted to keep the rise "to a bare minimum" but it was required to cover increasing operational costs.

Members voted unanimously in favour of the proposal.

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Chairman Coun Paul Prescott said: “It’s not a major increase. Given the last one was 2011, I’m not going to say it’s not overdue.”

The move will see starting points for three base tariffs- reflecting what time of day journeys have been booked – rise by 20p, 25p and 40p to £2, £2.50 and £4, respectively.

Mr Oakes, who is the borough’s officer for the Hackney Drivers Association, said his organisation hopes to work with the council to bring in an annual fare review system.

The cost of re-calibrating taxi meters – estimated to be around £10 to £15 – will be met by the drivers, the committee heard.

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The previous fare system came into force in April 2011. Local authorities set hackney carriage fares as a maximum rate drivers can charge although they can ask for less if they choose to.

Following the meeting, Mr Oakes said: “It has been a long time since the last increase. None of the drivers’ costs stand still – at the end of the day all they wanted was a small increase.

“Most places now have a look at prices every year and in that way we can effect small increases instead of having one big one. (Drivers) have to keep their payments and maintain their vehicles and they’ve got to live as well.

“They are frightened of doing any increases because of the thought of losing business, but you come to the stage that you’re paying to come to work and it shouldn’t be that.

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“I don’t think the increase is unreasonable. Some passengers will see that, some won’t.

“We’ve only put the increase on the flag fall (base tariff).

“When you’re sat on a rank for an hour and then you get a minimum fare…we just want a little bit extra for the drivers, it’s not mad. I hope the public accept it in the way we’ve gone at this. It has been seven years, it’s the way of life these days.”

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