Pressure to increase Shropshire taxi fares even more resisted by council

A proposal for a much bigger taxi fare increase for Hackney carriages in Shropshire has been rejected by councillors.

The taxi trade is buckling under massive increases in the price of fuel but members of Shropshire Council's strategic licensing committee said they have to strike a balance between drivers earning a living and adding costs to their customers.

Members of the committee came under pressure before their meeting on Wednesday and were asked to justify a decision not to apply higher fares. A petition with 24 names has also been submitted to the committee.

New fares are set to come into force on October 13.

The committee was told that the majority of Hackney carriage drivers in Shropshire rejected the council's fare card proposal, which would add less than five per cent on 80 per cent of their jobs, and would give them "nothing at all" on the majority of local journeys.

A driver told the committee that a full tank of fuel now costs almost £40 more and that an extra 50p per mile would not be enough.

"We will be out of business buying expensive fuel," a driver told a consultation exercise.

The council's proposal was to increase fares by 30p per mile for each additional mile across all four tariffs but to keep the first mile tariffs unchanged at £4.90

After the consultation they have increased the first mile fare from 7am-11pm on Mondays to Saturdays to £5.50. Five other tariffs are set to also increase for times including Christmas Day.

A report to councillors said: "The revised Hackney Carriage table of fares is considered fair and reasonable when balanced with the rise in fuel prices and the cost of living.

"Hackney Carriage Proprietors will be able to increase their income to offset some of the increased costs whilst at the same time does not price themselves out of the market.

"The council needs to support, as much as is reasonably practicable, the hackney carriage trade and given the rising cost of living, in particular, the cost of fuel (petrol, diesel and electricity), it is not unreasonable for the council to allow the fares to be increased."

The council rejected a suggestion that additional charges ought to be introduced for the carriage of luggage, bicycles, prams and pets. It was deemed "unacceptable because this approach does not support a transparent charging regime for passengers".

Overall, first mile charges are set to increase by up to 12 per cent. Additional mile charges are set to rise by between 10 and 20 per cent.

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