Taxi drivers are calling for tariffs to be increased as the cost-of-living crisis continues to put the squeeze on people’s finances.
For the past year, we have all battled with rising fuel and energy costs, which have helped push up inflation. For public hire, private hire drivers and others who earn their living on the road, there has been little choice but to take a hit at the pumps and hope that when tariff increases are introduced, they help plug the gap.
While Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement affects people in different ways, there are policies he has introduced that will further hit taxi drivers in the pocket. Average energy bills are expected to rise from £2,500 to £3,00 next year, which will have an impact on black cab and private hire drivers who have made the switch to electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids.
And he has introduced road tax for full EVs which will see taxi drivers paying an extra £165 a year on top of their already stretched finances, which includes servicing and maintenance as well as public hire insurance and private hire insurance.
The situation has become so desperate that some licensing authorities are increasing tariffs for the second time this year, others are introducing double-figure rises and some are going up for the first time in almost a decade.
Transport for London has launched its taxi fares consultation which could see public hire tariffs rise by 11.6% in the spring. It is a move that has been backed by two major taxi groups – the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, and now the United Cabbies Group.
The TfL review has reached the proposed 11.6% for April, 2023, after looking at the changes in taxi drivers’ operating costs and average national earnings. This includes costs for fuel, whether it is diesel, petrol or electricity, which have all been higher this year.
Taxi drivers in Brighton will see a similar increase in hackney carriage tariffs after the city council approved a second 5% increase in 12 months.
Brighton and Hove City Council introduced a 5% increase in March, but soaring inflation and rising fuel costs led the authority to look at its figures again.
The second 5% increase was approved last month and as reported by Taxi Point, equates to a 10p increase per mile to £2.70. The authority has also introduced a new night tariff from midnight to 6am to encourage more taxi drivers to work during the night and especially at weekends when there is huge demand for taxis.
Black cab drivers in Exeter are also looking forward to seeing tariffs rise – the first increase since 2013.
Both Exeter Hackney Carriage Associations have asked Exeter City Council to put up the tariffs as drivers struggle with the soaring cost of living.
The council has launched a consultation to get people’s views on increasing tariffs from £2.20 to £2.70 for the first 72 yards, and £0.10 for each subsequent 72 yards, from 7am to 7pm apart from Sundays or Bank Holidays.
The second tariff for journeys between 7pm and 7am and on Sundays, proposes a rise from £2.70 to £3.20 for the first 57 yards and £0.10 for each subsequent 57 yards and there are also new proposals for Bank Holidays, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
As well as facing increasing costs to keep their cabs on the roads, taxi drivers also have to earn a living and keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table – all of which are becoming more expensive by the day.
Other licensing authorities have already raised tariffs in their area and it is vital that the rest follow their lead to help maintain the vital taxi fleet.
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