Hart taxi fares will not rise next yearBy Stephen Lloyd
November 19, 2012
TAXI fares across Hart will not go up next year, councillors have ruled.
The district council’s licensing committee was being urged to put up the fares due to a rise in fuel prices and other ongoing charges since the last increase in December 2011.
But councillors decided that given the current economic climate, the fees should remain the same for 2013.
David King, Hart’s principal licensing officer, recommended the fare increase. He said cabbies who attended the last annual taxi trade meeting proposed a tariff increase of 20p for the first mile during daytimes and 30p for the night, bank holiday and weekend rate.
This would have made the first mile on day rate £4.20, the current rate being £4, while the first mile on the night, bank holiday and weekend rate would have been £6.30, compared to the current rate of £6.
Mr King said a letter was sent to all taxi drivers asking their views on the proposed tariff increase. He added that 25 responded and of these 18 indicated their approval of the proposed fare increase.
In justifying the proposed increase, Mr King pointed out that according to official AA figures, the average price of fuel in 2011 was £1.32.5 per litre for petrol and £1.40.9 per litre for diesel. In 2012 this had risen to £1.35.5 per litre for petrol and £1.44.6 per litre for diesel.
Mr King said that should members have agreed the tariff increase and there were no objections to the public notice advertisement, the tariff increase would have been implemented before Christmas.
“Taxi drivers do not have to charge the full amount displayed on the meter and have discretion to charge less if they so wish to, but they are not permitted to charge more than is displayed on the meter,” he added.
Members of the licensing committee considered the recommended increase and discussed the complexity of the tariffs and how Hart compared with other local authorities in Hampshire.
They had concerns regarding the possible impact an increase could have, particularly on older people who are on a fixed income. Councillors also considered that the poor response from taxi drivers to the proposed increase suggested a lack of support from them for this increase and, given the current economic climate, decided that the fees should remain the same for 2013.
They also decided a fare increase should be considered again this time next year in preparation for 2014.
Cllr Colin Ive, chairman of Hart’s licencing committee, said he was delighted that members were unanimous in the decision not to increase taxi fares.
“We carefully took into full account the impact an increase would have upon many of our residents who are already having to deal with increases in the cost of living and cuts in services and this, coupled with the lack of support for an increase from the taxi operators themselves, enabled us to freeze tariffs for the coming year,” he added.
Meanwhile, a recommendation to increase Hackney Carriage and private hire licence fees in line with inflation at 3% with effect from April 2013 was deferred until the next meeting for more information to be provided.