Thursday, 26 November 2015

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Rise in taxi fares ‘would be a disaster’, claims Workington cabbie

A taxi driver has warned that a forced fares increase could spell disaster for the already troubled trade.

Taxi driver Ray Cottier photo
Ray Cottier

Speaking ahead of a meeting this week where Allerdale councillors could decide to put the fares up on hackney vehicles, Ray Cottier said it would be a bad move.

The council has been consulting with taxi drivers about what changes, if any, should be brought in. Only four traders have replied to the authority – all of them backing a price hike.

But self-employed Mr Cottier, who says that the majority of taxis in Workington want the fare to remain the same, said that there is a constant fall in the number of customers and he fears if people are asked to pay even more, they will boycott taxis.

“I’ve been asking around town – some are for it but more are against,” he said. “The recession has hit Workington and is hitting taxis very hard. A lot of people who would get taxis in the past are now getting busses or walking.

“I am losing custom. On Friday morning between 10am and 11.30am I had one customer and that is really bad. Each day I am getting less and less.

“The regular people who used taxis are not getting in and are just walking past,” added Mr Cottier.

Those in the trade who want an increase have said that it needs to be brought in to “keep up with all the other constantly rising costs,” including licence fees, fuel and vehicle maintenance.

The last time fares were increased in Allerdale was June 2010, which saw it rise from £2.60 to £2.90 for the first mile.

But for the past three years it has been frozen.

Allerdale reviews the table of fares on an annual basis, after consulting with local firms. Any changes to the fares will come into force on April 1, provided no objections are received.

At Wednesday’s Licensing Committee, councillors will review the hackney carriage fares and can recommend to either keep them at the current level, or make changes.


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