Saturday, 28 November 2015

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West Cumbrian driver's anger over taxi fare rise

A taxi driver says cabbies will have to make hundreds of fares to fund a change to their meter to accommodate a 10p price hike.

Ray Cottier photo
Ray Cottier

Allerdale’s full council voted to increase journeys by 10p this week – making it the first price change in four years.

However, cab driver Ray Cottier said that every taxi must now have its meter “calibrated” as a legal requirement to keep in line with the new fares.

And he said it will cost around £20 for the changes – all for the sake of a small increase which will be funded from the extra 10p of 200 journeys.

At a time when trade is “extremely low” and fewer people are using taxis, Mr Cottier said the “unnecessary costs” are something they could all do without.

“It’s a waste of time increasing it by just 10p, all it means is that the first mile goes up from £2.90 to £3,” he said. “It will cost between £15 and £20 to have our meters calibrated which is going to take a lot of fares to get the money back. We will have to take 200, before making any profit.

“Trade is poor at the moment and money is short. I have sat at the rank for one hour and 15 minutes – it’s soul destroying.”

The changes, which are expected to come into force next month, will see the price for the first mile of a hackney carriage journey, or the whole journey if it is less than a mile, go up from £2.90 to £3 with the cost for each extra mile or part mile remaining at 39p.

When plans were first revealed about a possible fare increase, Mr Cottier warned it could spell disaster for the already troubled trade.

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

But self-employed Mr Cottier said that there was a constant fall in the number of customers and he fears if people are asked to pay even more, they will boycott taxis.

An Allerdale council spokeswoman said: “The decision by the council’s licensing committee followed a consultation with the hackney carriage trade, and this is the first such increase in four years.

“The fare change will be advertised in the local press next week and drivers will have the opportunity to submit any objections to the chief executive by March 31, 2014.”


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