Bank holiday taxi fares to stay

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Proposals to change the times when taxi drivers can charge ‘time and a half’ are to be re-considered.

The move comes after differing views within the taxi trade about proposed changes came to light shortly before they were due to be implemented.

Earlier this year Lancaster City Council’s Licensing Regulatory Committee agreed to vary hackney carriage fares after proposals were received from some sections of the taxi trade.

The proposed variation increases the fare rates per distance travelled but reduces fares on bank holidays (excluding Christmas) and between 5am and 7am every day from “time and a half” to single time.

Although no objections were received when the proposals were advertised, the city council later heard from other taxi proprietors and drivers who were unhappy with the reductions to the rates for bank holidays and between 5am-7am.

As a result the council’s Licensing Regulatory Committee agreed to look at the issue again and met on Tuesday in the light of petitions and objections received from the trade.

The committee agreed that because the objections were received outside the statutory period for objections the proposed variation will take effect from Sunday, September 1.

However, the committee decided to revert to the current position of time and a half on bank holidays and between 5am and 7am hours every day.

This will be advertised and the public and those within the trade will have the opportunity to raise any objections within a 21 day period.

Coun Jonathan Dixon, chairman of the Licensing Regulatory Committee, said: “Deciding whether to raise fares is always a balancing act between making sure the travelling public get a fair deal and the taxi trade is able to make a fair profit.

“There are clearly differing views from within the taxi trade itself and the level of objection we have received, including some proprietors who put forward the original proposal, clearly demonstrates that there are some who are not happy about the changes to when time and a half can be charged.

He added that the issue of bank holiday and early morning fares would be considered further.

The increase, which will come into force on Sunday, September 1, will have the effect of increasing the first mile of a journey by hackney taxi to £3.46 from £3.20, and the first two miles to £5.16.