Fuel demand sees taxis fare increase

PUBLISHED: 10:52 23 June 2008 | UPDATED: 20:41 05 July 2010

TAXI drivers across the region are feeling the pinch as fuel prices rise - and now those in Waveney have demanded a fare rise.

The cost of diesel has rocketed to more than £1.

TAXI drivers across the region are feeling the pinch as fuel prices rise - and now those in Waveney have demanded a fare rise.

The cost of diesel has rocketed to more than £1.30 per litre, leaving taxi companies with the tricky decision of whether to increase fares to cover costs but risk losing business.

In the past year the average price for diesel locally has rocketed from 97.3p to £1.31, with unleaded rising from 97.1p to £1.18. Fuel prices are expected to carry on rising and there have been warnings that prices will stay at record levels for much of the next decade. The price hike is down to the increasing cost of crude oil and soaring demand in China and developing countries.

While drivers are divided over what to do, at a meeting on Wednesday, Waveney District Council looks set to approve a 20p fare rise to the start price, although a report into the increase states that 12 identical letters were received from Lowestoft drivers requesting a reduction in yardage - the distance at which the price rises - rather than a significant increase to the start price. Other drivers were also spoken to and some said they did not want any sort of fare rise as it could put off customers.

Other parts of the region have also implemented fare rises to cover the cost of fuel.

Michael Yaxley, who runs a taxi company based in Yarmouth, said: “Last month we had a 40p increase on the starter meter. This was an annual increase although it was actually the first for two years.

“The council have left it open for us to review the fuel situation in three months, but you can't hit the public too much. They are struggling with the same costs.”

Steve Rush, chairman of the Norwich Hackney Carriage Trade Association, said: “As far as diesel prices go, it's having quite a bad affect on traders. But we're struggling on and maintaining out prices.

“But if fuel prices do continue to go up then obviously they will have to consider putting up current fares.”

Fares are worked out using a combination of cost to the company, the time taken and the distance travelled. In Waveney a proposed increase to the start cost from £2.60 to £2.80 between 7am and 11pm and from £3 to £3.20 between 11pm and 7am is likely to be approved. The last major increase was in December 2005, when diesel cost about 88p per litre, and there was also a small increase in December last year.

Franta Hafernik, regional manager for the National Taxi Association, said of the starting meter fare rise: “With fuel prices the way they are this is essential for them to make a living, but fare increases happen all the time and this is a continual process.”

“We have asked for a fuel surcharge in Eastbourne until the next fare increase is implemented,” he added.

The licensing committee takes place at Lowestoft Town Hall at 5.30pm.

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