09:51AM, Friday 14 February 2020
Fares for hackney carriage taxis are set to rise, councillors decided this week.
Members of the Royal Borough Licensing Panel met on Monday evening to discuss increasing the tariffs that licensed taxi drivers can charge passengers.
The panel decided to increase the basic tariff by 10 per cent, meaning the cost of a two-mile journey will rise from £5.80 to £6.38.
The panel heard how the average cost of a two-mile journey in Berkshire’s local authorities is £6.52.
They also agreed to increase fares by £1 for any journey with three passengers or more.
Councillors on the panel were told how diesel prices had risen 13 per cent since 2016 – the last time the taxi fares were increased.
Hackney carriage drivers who were both for and against increasing the fares attended the meeting.
Those who wanted to increase the tariffs felt that increased fuel prices and inflation meant they had to work longer hours to continue earning a living.
The opposing argument was that private hire vehicles and companies like Uber could undercut the licensed taxi drivers if the fares increased.
Cllr Phil Haseler (Con, Cox Green) said: “It’s these guys who are making a living, they have families to feed and cars to run, we have to work out what’s fair all around.
Cllr Simon Bond (Lib Dem, Belmont) added: “It seems it’s fairly easy for the drivers to work a couple of hours for less than the living wage.”
However, not all councillors were in favour of raising the fare.
Cllr David Cannon (Con, Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury), lead member for public protection and parking, said: “We have to be careful. I think we need to bear in mind that we have two differing views as to whether to increase the fares or don’t, that leaves us in a difficult position.
“Our residents do say they don’t want to pay more.”
When councillors voted on whether to increase the tariffs or not, five voted in favour, four against and Cllr Gurpreet Bhangra (Con, Boyn Hill) abstained.
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