Public and taxi drivers to be consulted on plans to increase taxi fares by five per cent

The county council is planning to increase taxi fares by five per cent.The county council is planning to increase taxi fares by five per cent.
The county council is planning to increase taxi fares by five per cent.
Taxi fares in Northumberland are set to increase due to the rising cost of living.

It would mean the fare for a five-mile journey on a standard tariff would increase from £12.30 to £12.90.

But the rise would only apply to so-called hackney carriages – that is, those taxis licensed by the local authority.

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It follows an increase of 5% last summer as drivers faced financial pressure due to rising fuel costs. However, that increase was deemed insufficient by the Berwick Taxi Association.

Speaking at the time, the association said: “We’re representing the whole of Northumberland. Everybody is absolutely livid at what they’ve done. To see that we’re only getting 10p on every hire is absolutely shambolic. It is disrespectful to the trade.”

Previously, fares hadn’t risen in around five years, but the council pledged to look at the issue again this year due to the rising cost of living.

At a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s licensing and regulatory committee, members were presented with the option of either a 5% or a 10% increase, and opted for the former.

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Speaking at the meeting, the council’s local services and housing delivery manager, Philip Soderquest, told members that the cost of fuel had “fallen significantly,” adding: “We’ve seen some reductions in the cost of operating taxis now.”

Councillors approved the proposals, and were keen to stress the new tariffs would be the maximum firms could charge.

Labour’s Coun Brian Gallacher said: “Everybody is struggling massively. If you don’t get bums on seats, you don’t make money.

“If you’re a business, you will be trying to keep prices as low as possible to get as much business as possible.”

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Coun Alex Wallace, who represents the Sleekburn ward, added: “Fuel prices are part of what demands the increase, but there’s many companies that won’t charge the maximum.

“You only make money if there’s bums on seats.”

Public notices will now be published in local newspapers specifying exact details of the proposed new tariffs, and the date it would come into effect.

Both members of the public and taxi drivers can send comments on the plans.