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Taxi fares in East Suffolk set to rise for first time in ten years



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Taxi fares and soiling charges in the north of East Suffolk are heading towards an increase, in the first change to fares for ten years.

The licensing committee of East Suffolk Council yesterday voted in favour of fare tariff increases of at least £1 for the first part of a journey, requested in a letter signed by 30 hackney carriage drivers in the north of East Suffolk.

The letter referred to the pressures of fuel price increases, inflation and higher vehicle costs as factors driving the need for fare increases.

Taxi fares in East Suffolk are heading towards an increase. Picture: East Suffolk Council
Taxi fares in East Suffolk are heading towards an increase. Picture: East Suffolk Council

The council must open the changes to consultation, giving taxi drivers and passengers the opportunity to object. The period of consultation can last no fewer than 14 days.

According to the tariff changes accepted by the committee, the first part of a journey between 7am and 11pm will increase from £3 to £4. The distance at which this fare is charged will decrease from 903m to 805m. The current 20p charge for each subsequent 134m will now apply to each subsequent 114m.

Between 11pm and 7am, and on Sundays and bank holidays, £4.40 will be charged for the first 640m, and 20p for each subsequent 97m. At the moment, £3.20 is charged for the first 721m – and 20p for each subsequent 111m.

On Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years’ Eve, £7 will be charged for the first 1,152m – and 20p for each subsequent 91m. £5.60 is currently charged for the first 1317m, and 20p for each subsequent 98m.

Councillors also agreed with the drivers’ proposal to increase the soiling charge from £40 to £60, but they declined to accept the proposal to increase the fee for using the luggage compartment.

They instead voted in favour of an amendment brought forward by Conservative councillor and chairman of licensing committee Keith Robinson, which requested that the luggage charge be removed completely as it is “totally unfair,” in the councillor’s view.

Conservative councillor Linda Coulam, who has worked as a taxi driver, voted against the removal of the luggage charge, stating this was “not feasible”.

Cllr Coulam also proposed an amendment in which the cost of soiling a taxi would be increased to £80, higher than the £60 requested by the 30 hackney drivers; this was voted down.

The last increase in fare tariffs for the north of East Suffolk, which set the upper limit of charges that can be implemented by hackney carriage drivers, took place in September 2012.

Separate tariffs are implemented in the north and the south of East Suffolk, and therefore any changes resulting from yesterday’s vote will only impact drivers based in the north of the district.