Taxi drivers ask Council to raise fares due to fuel hikes

The team from Corker Outdoor, Award sponsor Jason Varney (Thomson, Snell & Passmore) & Eamonn Holmes

Last night as the Times went to press [April 5], Councillors at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council were meeting to discuss the increase requested by the a representative for the Hackney Carriage taxis in the town.

Clayton Berry of Cleggy’s Taxis has brought the proposal to the Licensing Committee and says he speaks for 70 per cent of the drivers in Tunbridge Wells.

He is asking for fares to rise during the week to match the higher weekend rate, to counter the surging rise in fuel and other costs.

If approved, it would 80 pence to the average cab journey in Tunbridge Wells.

Explaining the proposed rate changes, Mr Clayton said Tariff 1 – in force from 6am to 11:29pm – would see the initial charge increased from £4.00 to £4.80, while Tariff 2 – in force from 11:30pm to 5:59am and on Bank Holidays – would increase from £6,00 to £6.80.

There would be no change to Tariff 3, which starts at £8.00, but is only in force on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

The weekend surcharge of 80p would be abolished.

“This 80p is the normal weekend surcharge, so it would just be the weekend rate seven days a week. It will be 80p [extra] a job,” he told the Times.

The regulated fares only relate to hackney carriages, which passengers can flag down in the street or board from the taxi rank outside the station, as opposed to private hire taxis, which must be booked.

In his submission, Mr Berry cited the rising cost of living, fuel prices, ‘cost of vehicle insurance going up due to Government increasing insurance premium tax’, vehicle licence fees and road tax increasing every year.

“Private hire taxis can charge whatever they like,” he added. “They’re not regulated.”

“It’s not just the fuel prices but all the licensing costs from the Council as well,” he told the Times.

His other proposals include increasing the maximum ‘spoilage charge’ from £85 to £100, and changing the additional passenger charge.

The additional passenger capacity charge would kick in after four passengers (excluding babies under one) rather than two passengers, but the charge would increase from 20p to 50p.

In its outline of the proposals, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council noted that the suggested proposals equated to a 20 per cent increase on tariffs 1 and 2.

It also included the note: “The Private Hire Monthly magazine publishes a league table which ranks all the Councils in England and Wales in accordance with the cost of a 2-mile hackney fare on Tariff 1. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is currently 22 out of a total of 355 councils.

“Should the proposed increase be approved, TWBC will be 8th out of the 355 councils. Resulting in this Authority having the most expensive taxi fares in Kent.”

However, TWBC also noted: “The last rise in maximum fares took effect on 1st April 2019.”

The committee meeting started at 6:30pm last night [April 5]. If Councillors voted to implement the change, they must publish a notice giving at least fourteen days for objections to be made.

If there are no objections, the proposals could be implemented on April 27.

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter