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Taxi fare increase in Torfaen reduced following petition by six drivers

a taxi

A £1 increase on every taxi fare in Torfaen is to be reduced by 10 pence in response to opposition from six drivers. 

Licensed hackney carriage drivers, who have to use a meter, said they didn’t want to “exploit” passengers and sent a petition to Torfaen County Borough Council which, in July, had been urged by a driver to raise fares.

As a result the standard taxi fare in Torfaen was set to increase this month to £5, with 10 pence added to the meter for every 110 yards, or more, travelled in a licensed hackney carriage. 

The 20 per cent increase was proposed by the borough council following concerns from drivers at mounting fuel costs, and the rising cost-of-living, and was to be the first hike in fares in four years. 

But following the final consultation on the new proposed charges, which would have seen a daytime two-mile journey within Torfaen jump from £5.50 at present to £6.60, and cost £7.95 at night, the council was lobbied by drivers who feared the new charges could drive them out of business. 

Instead the council has now agreed that the standard charge will rise to £4.90 with 10 pence added to the meter for every 110 yards, or part of. That is still higher than the fares proposed by the drivers who objected to the increase. 

Tariff Two from midnight to 6am will be £5.60 and 15 pence for every additional 120 yards, of part of. 

Groups of five or more can also be charged at Tarfiff Two and double the higher rate will be the standard charge from 6pm on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve (from 6pm) and New Year’s Day and other bank holidays. 

Taxi driver Malcolm Liddiard gathered signatures from six licensed drivers who instead suggested a rise should be limited to 50 pence on the standard £4 fare, or no less than 30 pence, and there should be a reduction of 10 yards on the “ten pence tick over”. 

A letter from Mr Liddiard stated drivers felt they are unable to pass cost increases on to passengers and doing so would be “disastrous” for trade. 

He wrote: “With domestic fuel going up so much and inflation liable to hit 9 per cent and rising food prices, most of our customers being non car owners and pensioners and people on benefits or fixed incomes we feel it is unreasonable to exploit them with such an increase. Not only to say the impact on our trade which would probably be disastrous.” 

He added he had been unable to attend the consultation meeting on the proposed fare rise. 

Two members of the public also objected to the increase with one saying the council had failed to justify an increase double the rate of inflation and another who described public transport in Cwmbran as poor meaning travellers have no alternative and that private hire firms, which do not have to charge by the meter, are often unable to meet demand. 

A council report stated the request to increase fares had been considered by both the licensing committee and the cabinet member and a public consultation held. 

It also noted that since the original request, from a taxi driver and which was supported by other drivers at a formal meeting in August, average petrol prices have fallen, though diesel has increased. 

According to the report since September there has been an approximate eight pence decrease per litre in unleaded fuel, seven pence decrease in super unleaded while the price of diesel has increased by six pence per litre and there has been a one pence decrease per litre in LPG. 

The new fares came into operation on Tuesday, December 13.

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Taxi fare increase in Torfaen reduced following petition by six drivers