Fury over taxi fare hike
Last updated at 17:18, Tuesday, 23 March 2010
HACKNEY taxi bosses are split over a controversial decision to increase fares in South Lakeland.
Since May 2008, the price of a hackney carriage journey not exceeding one mile has cost of £2.70.
But following a review, in consultation with taxi firms across the district, South Lakeland District Council’s licensing committee decided in January to increase that to £3.
The price of each subsequent mile was kept at £2.
The midnight-to-7am premium charge period, when an extra 50 per cent of the above rate is charged, was altered to 11pm-to-6am.
But the licensing committee is now to reconsider its decision tomorrow after receiving objections.
Paul Davey, owner of Ulverston-based A2B Taxis, wrote to SLDC to object to the increases.
He said: “It’s slow at the moment, a number of my customers have voiced their concerns about fare increases already.
“We have to try to compete also with Barrow taxis, which do come into our area all the time.
“They run around a lot cheaper than us, so increased fares will just make it harder as people will use Barrow taxis.”
Mr Davey said charging premium fares from 11pm would result in a “backlash” from customers, and added: “People expect their fare to go up at midnight and a lot book taxis before midnight to get home. These people’s fares would jump right up.”
Allan Rodgers, owner of Ulverston-based LA12 Taxis, agrees with Mr Davey.
He said: “The proposed increase will cause conflict between taxi drivers and the public and is a material change in the fare structure.
“I do not think the proposal to bring forward the ‘midnight rate’ to 11pm should be included in any review of fares.
“It is a separate issue and should be decided by committee after careful consideration.
“Were the proposal to be approved, many people would refuse to use licensed taxis and may endanger themselves by hailing out-of-area private hire taxis or even unlicensed taxis. In that case, the passengers would be unlicensed for their journey.”
Dave Taylor, boss of Windermere-based Pegasus Taxis and Travel, wants the midnight-to-7am charging system to remain in place, but is in favour of an increase on the first mile and subsequent miles.
He said: “This would make longer jobs more profitable and go towards helping with the ever-increasing costs of running a taxi.”
The directors of Windermere Taxis, Windermere-based B-Line Taxis, and First Choice Taxis Cumbria wrote to SLDC in favour of the £3 fare and charging more from 11pm.
They also proposed a charge of £2.20 for each subsequent mile.
The directors, Sarah Ibbetson, Mark Ibbetson and Felicity Shaw said there had been a stark downturn in trade and that firms in Windermere had “suffered the worst winter in anybody’s memory, and drivers are struggling to make any kind of living at all”.
They said there was “no economic evidence” to suggest a price rise would put off passengers, and argued those who want to travel very short distances seek to use buses.
They said: “The increase in fares needs to go on the running mile. It will help us catch up a bit with the increase in fuel prices, which have increased by over 25 per cent per litre since the last fare increase.”
First published at 13:12, Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
If you want to squeeze 4 passengers into a 10 year old Astra get a Barrow cab . South lakes cars are 5 years old max. Different rules.
i was amazed to see in a barrow townhall publication that private hire veh were (substanderd},but no,sldc also knock and mock the privatehire trade .all privatehire veh are tested to a strict highstandard .some firms have more to offer than others ,its the individual driver that makes the diffrence ,NICE @ HONEST .