Taxi drivers call for increase in fares
TAXI drivers in Monmouthshire have requested an increase in fares for the first time in more than 10 years following rises in fuel costs.
Senior councillors will consider a proposal to increase hackney carriage taxi fares at a cabinet meeting today, (Wednesday June 29).
The current tariff in Monmouthshire was introduced in 2011, equating to £5.70 for two miles.
Vehicles are fitted with metres set to the tariff and drivers are unable to charge more than this.
The average two-mile tariff in England and Wales is £6.06, with the average at £5.69 in Wales and £5.48 in Gwent.
Several other councils have recently approved higher rates though, or are in the process of doing so, including Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Newport.
A Monmouthshire council report says the main reason for the trade requesting the increase has been the sharp rise in fuel costs.
One Monmouthshire hackney carriage driver, who did not want to be named, said fuel prices have nearly doubled since 2011 when the current tariff was introduced.
They said the proposed increase in the tariff was “long-overdue”.
“The cost of living is difficult, but it is difficult for taxi drivers as well,” they said.
“Our running costs for the year are thousands and thousands. It’s time for the council to help taxi drivers.”
The current starting tariff for a hackney carriage from 6am to 9pm for up to four passengers in Monmouthshire is £3.
This would rise to £4 under the proposal.
Private hire vehicles are not affected by the tariff and set their own prices.
One driver said more companies have become private hire firms due to the set tariffs and it is claimed some are now charging as much as three times the meter price for a journey.
Monmouthshire council currently licences 75 diesel taxis, 11 petrol or hybrid vehicles and three electric.The average mileage of a Monmouthshire hackney carriage is 30,848 miles per year.
A report says the average cost of diesel has risen from £1.28 a litre in March last year to £1.97 a litre in June.
It says there has been “a significant increase in cost of fuel for the trade” which supports a rise in fares.
“The licensing section has received numerous requests from hackney carriage proprietors and licensed drivers for the table of fares set by this authority to be increased due to the increase in living costs and running costs for businesses such as the significant rise in fuel costs,” the report says.
Monmouthshire council’s cabinet will decide the proposal at a meeting today (Wednesday June 29).
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