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Babergh District Council vows to 'learn lessons' as new Hackney Carriage cab fares are approved to take effect from November




Fresh Hackney Carriage cab fares will take effect from November 1 in Babergh - but the council has vowed to learn lessons from problems bringing new tariffs into effect.

Babergh District Council was forced to abandon a new tariff of fares for Hackney Carriages - those which can be hailed at roadsides and queue in taxi ranks - just days before they were meant to begin in April this year.

It was found the proposed fares could 'inadvertently enable discrimination' because larger wheelchair accessible vehicles would cost more.

The taxi rank in Lloyds Avenue, Ipswich. Picture: Jason Noble LDRS
The taxi rank in Lloyds Avenue, Ipswich. Picture: Jason Noble LDRS

It was a warning issued by members of the trade during the consultation but went unheeded.

After the tariffs had to be pulled, new fares were developed in conjunction with taxi firms, and on Monday were given unanimous approval by the council's cabinet.

The new prices will come into force on November 1.

The taxi rank off Dogs Head Street, Ipswich. Picture: Jason Noble LDRS
The taxi rank off Dogs Head Street, Ipswich. Picture: Jason Noble LDRS

Conservative cabinet member for economic growth, Michael Holt, said: "This was first brought to licensing in June '20 I believe, and I don't think it puts us in a good light that we are here in September '21 discussing the same topic.

"I think there are lessons to be learned probably for both members and officers as a collective in the way we approach this sort of thing in the future."

A consultation on the revised fares which ran from mid-June for a month received no objections.

Conservative cabinet member for the environment Elisabeth Malvisi, said: "The proposed table of fares on which we have recently consulted is based on suggestions from drivers, operators and meter agents.

Councillor Elisabeth Malvisi, Conservative councillor for Long Melford and cabinet member for the environment at Babergh District Council. Picture: Babergh District Council
Councillor Elisabeth Malvisi, Conservative councillor for Long Melford and cabinet member for the environment at Babergh District Council. Picture: Babergh District Council

"The aim is to provide an increased income for the trade whilst ensuring taxi travel is affordable for all, and those who are only able to travel in one of the larger wheelchair-accessible vehicles are not penalised."

Fares were last assessed five years ago, and it was recognised that costs had increased during that time for operators.

The new fares are now dictated by number of passengers rather than vehicle size.

For one-four passengers fares start at £3.20 for a day rate with an 18p increase every 176 yards, £4.80 for evenings with 27p every 176 yards and £6.40 for Christmas and New Year with 36p every 176 yards.

For five or more passengers the day rate starts at £4.80 with 27p every 176 yards, £6.40 for evenings with 36p every 176 yards and £8 with 45p every 176 yards on Christmas and New Year.

Cab drivers can still use their discretion on whether they charge less, and passengers can still attempt to negotiate a price.

The fares only apply to Hackney Carriage cabs and not private hire taxis.

The start date for the new fares has also been planned to ensure drivers can benefit from the new tariffs in time for the crucial Christmas period, following a harrowing 18 months of vastly reduced income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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