Councillors allow taxi fares to increase

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The maximum amount taxi drivers can charge in Wealden is set to rise, after proposals were given the go ahead by Councillors.

Wealden District Council’s Licensing Committee agreed to increase the maximum fares the Council’s Hackney Carriage drivers can charge by ten per cent.

According to officers, the increase had been intended to reflect the rise in fuel prices since the last time maximum fares were set in 2018. However, officers also said fuel prices have risen even further since the proposals were first put out for consultation, meaning a further increase in fares may now be necessary.

As increasing fares beyond the ten per cent proposed would require a further round of consultation, the Committee opted to approve the increase as a short term measure and review the fares again in the near future.

Committee chairman Nigel Coltman said:

I think ten per cent is the minimum now, but to stop and say ‘let’s do it more’, we’d have to go out for consultation again.

So I think [we increase fares by] ten per cent now and let’s look at it again in, say, six months.

Cllr Nigel Coltman

Officers, however, suggested this timeline be brought forward, with prices to be reviewed again within three months. This was agreed by the Committee.

For the time being, the increased fare cap will mean Hackney Carriage drivers can, from 9th May, charge £3.10 per journey, plus 10p for every 76.5 yards after the first (or 15p for vehicles capable of carrying more than five passengers).

This would increase to £4.10 plus 15p per 76.5 yards (or 20p for the larger vehicles) for journeys taking place on Bank Holidays or between midnight and 5.59am. Christmas and New Year fares would also increase.

During the same meeting, Councillors also agreed to update its required standards for drivers.

These would include a new mandatory requirement for drivers and operators to attend Council-approved training on safeguarding, which would be refreshed when licences are renewed.

It would also become mandatory for drivers and operators to maintain membership of a DBS update service.

The Committee also agreed to consult on the merits of utilising CCTV within taxi and private hire vehicles, other interested bodies and the public.

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