Sheffield cabbies lose out in bid to raise fares

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TAXI drivers in Sheffield have been refused permission to put up their fares – and were warned an increase could have ‘priced them out of the market’.

Sheffield Council’s licensing committee rejected the application by Sheffield Taxi Trade Association for a 10 per cent increase to meet rising fuel, insurance and running costs.

Coun John Robson, committee chairman, said: “The application had been deferred since October because we asked the drivers for more information about the financial pressures they were facing.

“The only details they provided were about insurance costs – and fuel prices are falling.

“We aren’t aware of any drivers leaving the trade.

“The majority of people have had to cope with a wage freeze for the last three years and there is a danger of taxi drivers pricing themselves out of the market.

“Money is tight for everybody.

“We recognise and have a degree of sympathy that costs have increased, but there’s a feeling among members that the trade needs to absorb cost increases as best they can.

“While committee members had every sympathy with taxi drivers, who like most members of the public are hard-working and doing their best to earn a living in the current climate, everyone is suffering and there cannot be exceptions.”

The last increase the council approved was a rise of more than 4 per cent in October 2011.

Hafeas Rehman, association chairman, said: “The drivers will be very, very disappointed and some will be very angry.

“We didn’t apply for an increase last year because of the fact that everybody is losing jobs and so on, so we gave it a rest last year.

“We could have done with a slight increase to meet the increases in costs.”