Soaring costs see cabbies seek rise in fares

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TAXI drivers in Sheffield have asked for permission to increase fares to help them cope with increased fuel and insurance costs.

Sheffield Taxi Trade Association, which represents hackney carriage drivers, made the request at a meeting of Sheffield Council’s licensing committee.

Hafeas Rehman, association chairman, said insurance costs have increased ‘60 per cent’ on last year, and that drivers have also been hit by ‘current high fuel prices and general rises in the cost of living’.

He said: “Taxi drivers need to recover the burden of these inflation-busting costs associated with the business.

“Drivers have been patient and are only requesting an increase because it is needed.

“Taxis are value for money when you compare the cost of average journeys for five people sharing to bus fares.”

The drivers are requesting permission for a 10 per cent fare increase.

Taxi drivers are also seeking an increase in the 50p administration fee charged to customers paying by credit card.

The association said the current fee ‘does not cover the cost of the rental of equipment or the charges made to the drivers by the card companies’.

Coun Clive Skelton, deputy chairman of the licensing committee, said: “We have deferred a decision on whether to allow a rise in fares pending further evidence on whether insurance costs have risen by the amount that has been stated.”

Taxi fares are currently set at a minimum fare of £2.60 in the day, or £3.10 at night, then 30p for every 346 yards travelled for up to 10 miles, with extra charges at night and for longer journeys.