Royal Borough taxis to double minimum fare

Shay Bottomley

Councillors voted to double the minimum fare of the Royal Borough’s taxis at a licensing panel on Tuesday.

The increase, which will only apply to the borough’s hackney carriages, came after 81 drivers petitioned the council to allow for an increase in the face of rising fuel costs.

As a result of the changes, any passenger who wishes to use a hackney carriage will be required to pay a minimum fare of £6 between the hours of 6am and 11pm, up from £3.

Outside these hours and on bank holidays, the minimum fare rises from £4.50 to £9.

A report presented to councillors revealed the cost of diesel in London had risen by 48 per cent to 190.92p a litre between February 2020 and last month.

Drivers also listed their reasons for the petition, including ‘effects of the rises in the cost of living’, as well as the existing £3 minimum fare being ‘completely unreasonable’.

They added that drivers ‘sometimes have to wait a long time for a fare and that fare can be very low as journeys usually do not last much longer than a mile’, and that an increase to £6 would bring the hackney carriages in line with fares charged by private hire operators.

Councillors were unanimous in their support for the increase.

Cllr David Cannon (Con, Datchet, Horton & Wraysbury) noted that the ‘vast majority’ of drivers had signed the petition.

“My view on that is if the industry is making a request for this, rather than us telling them they should do, it is something we ought to consider very carefully and we should be supporting them,” said Cllr Cannon.

“However, this is a commercial operation they’re working on, and they will have to make a decision as to whether, by increasing their prices, they’re going to price themselves out of the market.

“If they were a monopoly, as in the only taxis, then I think we would have great concern in putting up their prices, but people have other choices.”

Cllr Geoff Hill (tBF, Oldfield) was also supportive of the increase, adding that the drivers had put forward the recommendation themselves in the face of the cost-of-living crisis.

The motion to raise prices was passed unanimously.

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