Public transport fares rise

Taxi fares in Tunbridge Wells went up on Monday, following discussions at the end of last year between taxi operators and the Council, which was agreed by Licensing Committee in December.

Under the new tariff, the distance for the initial fixed-fee hiring charge has been reduced from 1,760 yards (one mile) to 1,408 yards (8/10 mile), and only applies to the first ten minutes for stationary cabs from 12 minutes 40 seconds.

The Council has blamed high fuel prices in the South East, the rising cost of living, increases in vehicle insurance, and rising Road Fund Licence for the increase.

Tunbridge Wells is now on a par with Tonbridge & Malling, ranking 20th in a table of the most expensive taxi operators out of 370 local authorities.

A spokesperson for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council said: “At their meeting on 4 December the Licensing Committee agreed to increase the maximum taxi fares for time and distance, in line with the proposals submitted by the trade. 

“No objections were received therefore the increase is effective from 1 April 2019. The last time fares were increased was 2011.

“This does not apply to private hire fees, these are agreed between the hirer and the operator.”

From Sunday [April 7], Arriva is also putting up some bus fares.

The company said the price of the South East day ticket will see an increase by 30p from £7.50 to £7.80, with monthly tickets increasing by £1 to £100 if they are bought online, and by £10 to £110 if bought on a bus.

The annual ticket will also see a small increase of £10 from £990 to £1,000.

Lauren Edmonds, Arriva marketing manager, said: “At Arriva we are constantly reviewing ways to try and improve the passenger experience. That is why we have made these updates to ensure our services are easy to use for all passengers.

“We hope our passengers in Kent not only benefit from these changes but continue to rely on our services.”

She added that Arriva will be renaming the South East ticket zone, the Kent and Medway zone which better represents the area in which it covers.

* Arriva has also announced that it is withdrawing the 285 service in Tunbridge Wells in response to a lack of passenger use.

From Sunday, the number 285, which serves Hawkenbury and Ramslye to Tunbridge Wells, will be discontinued.

A spokesperson for the bus company said: “Unfortunately the usage of this service was not enough for us to run it effectively and so we have been left with no choice but to withdraw it.”

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