Denbighshire councillors vote for taxi fare rise

TAXI fares could go up in Denbighshire after councillors at a licensing committee meeting voted in favour of setting higher tariffs. The Local Government Act allows councils to fix taxi tariffs, which were last set four years ago.

The increases will first go to public consultation. But if they get the go-ahead, new tariffs will see fares immediately increased from £3 to £3.50 at the start of a journey and charges increased from £2 per mile to £2.50 per mile between 7 am and 11 pm. Waiting times will also be charged at 30 pence per minute.  Start fares include the first 0.7 miles travelled.

After 11 pm start fares will rise from £4.50 to £5.25, together with a rate of £3.75 for every mile travelled, an increase of 75 pence per mile. It’s proposed this more expensive tariff will come into effect between 11 pm and 6.59 am, as opposed to the current 12 am and 6 am premium time, with waiting times increasing to 40 pence. 

It’s also proposed that the premium fare will apply all day on Sundays and after 6 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. There will be a surcharge for more than four passengers.

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The higher tariff will apply on public holidays. But one thing that will remain the same is the £100 charge for passengers who ‘soil’ the cab. Pets will still be charged at 20 pence each to travel.

Cllr Arwel Roberts said he felt for customers who would struggle to meet the increase.

“If it’s come from the licenced drivers, then we’ve got to support them, but I do feel for residents who are facing a very difficult period financially, so I’m not really sure what to think,” he said.

“I understand why it needs to be done. Everyone needs to live. What’s the advantage to Denbighshire County Council please?”

Council officer Ian Millington responded:

“You are right. It will affect residents and anybody who wants to use a taxi. But we have to remember that if taxis are not cost-effective for the operator, then they will not be a taxi. They won’t be in the business. It does drive some operators from actually working, which reduces the competition. We have to remember the charges will be the maximum that a taxi driver can charge.”

Cllr Barry Mellor said:

“I think it is quite sensible, looking at this.

“You’ve only got to see now it’s £1.50 for a litre of diesel. You’ll find taxi drivers are not turning out as much as they should do. If you try and phone a taxi, half the time you’ve got quite a considerable wait. In the quieter times, they won’t do it because of what they are getting back for the tariff. It is hard for us all. Prices are going up. But I really think we’ve got to look right across the board here.”

Cllr Merfyn Parry added: “I think we are going to have to support this.

“It puts a top line on it, not a bottom line on it, as I understand. They (taxis) can charge less if they want to but can’t go more. Operators have got costs like making sure the vehicles are kept safe; there is maintenance on them, things like tyres and fuel. Everything is going up. So we obviously have to make sure we have a standard of a service that is being offered by the county.”

Cllr Huw Williams proposed councillors supported the recommendation, and Cllr Barry Mellor seconded it. The matter will now go out to public consultation.

Richard Evans Local Democracy Reporter

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