Barnsley’s Hackney Carriage drivers hit back over fare increase

Hackney Carriage drivers in Barnsley have hit back after councillors asked for more evidence of rising costs to justify a 40p fare increase during a meeting last week.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 12:38 pm

The Hackney Carriage Association submitted a request to Barnsley Council’s licensing department to increase the base rate by 40p to bring hackney carriage fares in line with private hire charges.

The association says the price hike would help towards the “significant rise” in fuel costs, running costs and insurance.

This would mean that the first mile of a journey would increase from £3.80 to £4.20.

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The council’s general licensing regulatory board were set to make decision to send the matter to public consultation, but voted to wait until evidence of rising costs was submitted at their meeting on September 8.

Councillor Margaret Bruff told the meeting: “There’s a lot of businesses [that have] really, really struggled over the last few years and continue to struggle.

“There’s a lot of people struggling because they’ve lost their jobs.

“I think at this time it’s just to much to ask.”

Documents submitted by chairman Shaun Jeffers to the licensing board state: “I have been a hackney carriage driver for 24 years.

“If I work a day shift which consists of at least eight hours I am lucky if I earn £50…. less than the minimum wage, then out of this wehave running costs to pay.

“We can not recruit drivers because they are better off on benefits than what they can earn driving a Hackney Carriage.

“I am sure councillor Bruff and Co. would not sit on Barnsley hackney rank for eight hours for £40 profit.

“Barnsley councillors are asking for proof that our costs have increased when it is plainly obvious that they have.

“We are not “greedy” people we just need to make the Hackney Carriage trade a viable business because as it stands our earnings are only just above what unemployed people get on benefits.”

Robert Taylor, the secretary of the association, also submitted a statement, which reads: “We certainly haven’t done this on the back of the pandemic and are definitely not wanting sympathy as taxi drivers have been one of the hardest hit industries over this period, we are fair and honest people trying to do our job.”