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TAXI fares in Pembrokeshire are set to rise and a new booking fee is being introduced.

The maximum table of fares had remained unchanged for ten years until a review was carried out by Pembrokeshire County Council last year.

Consultation with the trade saw a poor response despite every combined hackney carriage and private vehicle operator written to, members of the authhority’s licensing committee were told on May 30.

A second consultation was held with 19 responses from 394 licensed drivers in Pembrokeshire with a proposed maximum fare of £6.10 for a two-mile daytime journey.

This would put Pembrokeshire joint highest with Cardiff for maximum charges in Wales, although drivers do not have to charge the top rate but must run a fully-calibrated meter.

A report to the licensing committee states that there is an issue in the county with “dead mileage.”

It is proposed to introduce a booking fee of £2 per mile included in the table of fares to allow for journeys where a taxi travels a significant distance to pick up a fare for their metered trip.

The example used is a Haverfordwest taxi travelling to Letterston  – ten miles – for a fare to Mathry – five miles. The first ten miles cannot be charged for as the meter can only be switched on when the passenger gets in.

Two objections were sent in response.

Cllr Mark Carter said a booking fee could “penalise people” asking why it would be different for someone to get in a taxi from Haverfordwest to Letterston and then it returning empty.

Councillors approved the introduction and table of charges increase while reminding taxi users to ensure they agree a fare at the booking stage.

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