HACKNEY carriage taxi fares in Cardiff will increase after proposals from drivers were approved at a council meeting.
Cardiff Council’s Cabinet yesterday (Thursday, June 23) agreed to the application put forward by the Cardiff Hackney Alliance and Unite for a number of price hikes, including for the starting tariff to increase from £2.50 to £3.50.
Other proposals in the application include a waiting time charge increase from 20p for 48 seconds to 30p for 30 seconds, and an increase in the charge for soiling the vehicle from £50 to £60.
The increased cost in fares and tariffs was called for to support taxi drivers with the increased cost of living and the additional costs of the taxi trade, like fuel, which has also seen a big increase.
Cllr De’Ath, who called the proposed increase “fair”, said: “Taxis are a really important part of Cardiff’s transport mix.
“If you don’t have a car, then getting a taxi is an important way of getting around the city.
“And with Covid, it has been a really tough time for taxi drivers.”
It is the first time there has been an increase in Hackney carriage fares in Cardiff since March 2018. The application also proposed separate tariffs for different times of the day and days of the week:
Tariff 1 for usual daytime travel during the weekdays
Tariff 2 for weekday evenings and weekends during the day
Tariff 3 for weekday nights, weekend evenings and bank holidays
Another proposal in the application included a price increment increase from 10p to 20p to be charged according to the tariff that the customer is travelling on – for tariff 1, the increment would be charged every 170 yards, for tariff 2, every 150 yards and for tariff 3, every 130 yards.
Whilst Cllr Adrian Robson welcomed the different tariff rates for different times of the day and recognised the fare increase hadn’t been revised for a number of years, he said he thought some of the price increases were a “little bit high”.
He said: “Some of them are going up by a third and I think that that is too much, particularly in one go at this current time.
“I look at the wider economy, I look at where that places us with other cities in the table and particularly what interests me is how that relates to our neighbouring authorities.”
Cardiff is currently 161st in the two-mile fare league table out of 358 local authorities, as printed in the March 2022 edition of Private Hire & Taxi Monthly. The increase will move Cardiff to 10th.
Cllr Robson added: “I don’t want to see a situation where you get… drivers from other local authorities coming ply their trade, be it rightly or wrongly, and a number of us have spent time on the public protection committee and we have seen that.
“I just worry slightly that it could actually damage our Cardiff taxis in a way that is perhaps unintended.”
Cllr Robson also asked what would happen when petrol prices started to decrease again.
Cllr De’Ath responded “there is always that tension there between treating the trade fairly and treating customers fairly”.
He added: “In Cardiff if fares are too high, people have other options like Uber and there are lots of players in the market now.
“We think proportionately that this is about right. I can’t imagine things changing significantly in terms of petrol prices in the coming months and I think high inflation will unfortunately be with us for quite a while, but we can always review things going forwards.”
The leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas noted the increase in the cost of fuel that has been seen in recent months and said: “I think what we are seeing is council’s going through this process even as we speak and all in turn increasing their fares.
“This feels like to me a balanced proposal, not least in response to the time since the last increase as well.”