West Oxfordshire District Council is being advised to push up taxi fares by up to 20 per cent to allow drivers to cope with rising costs.
The council’s cabinet, the ruling group of Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green Party councillors, will decide on Wednesday, 21 September, whether to implement an increase to the maximum charges that licensed Hackney carriages from towns including Witney, Woodstock, Chipping Norton, and Burford can ask for.
More than 20 of the 105 drivers or operators licensed by the district signed the letter asking for the ability to charge more based on inflation and rising fuel costs, with a 20 per cent rise described as “the absolute minimum we need to support our businesses”. They say the proposals have “the support of the majority of the trade”.
Council officers are backing the plans. The council’s report read: “Since the last fare increase, the cost of living, inflation and fuel prices have all increased, and as such, the current Hackney carriage maximum tariffs no longer meet the licence holders’ costs.
“The process of setting a fare increase is complex, and a balance needs to be struck between the legitimate aims of the taxi trade to maintain profitability in the face of increasing costs.”
If approved, the standard fare would jump from £2.40 to £5.00, but that would cover the whole of the first mile – something that currently comes out at £4.20.
A two-mile journey would go up to £7.20 from £6.20, a rise of 16 per cent. While a 10-mile route would cost £26.40 instead of £22.20, up just shy of 20 per cent. Waiting time charges would go up by 50 per cent at 20p per 30 seconds. A similar rate is currently charged for 45 seconds.
The night-time rate, which remains at 50 per cent extra, will kick in at 10.30pm rather than 11.00pm, with the 50 per cent uplift also applying to minibuses and six-seater vehicles at all times. Christmas and new year tariffs remain at double time, while the soiling charge is set to increase from £60 to £100.
The new charges that would kick in from 12 October would reset the maximum threshold. Operators remain free to charge less if they wish to. The new tariffs will be subject to a 14-day public consultation. If objections are received, the council’s cabinet must consider them within two months of implementation.