Taxi driver’s concern over fare changes

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A Skegness taxi driver feels the new changes to maximum rates for journeys will ‘kill trade stone dead’ as holidaymakers’ feel they are being ‘ripped off’.

The new fare structure which will start on July 8, will see some fares rise by another 10p and distance fares up by 6p per mile.

Local taxi driver James Hardaker says there has been a noticeable drop in trade since the last time prices were upped.

“As a taxi driver, I am astonished by the continued moves by East Lindsey District Council towards killing our trade stone dead,” he said

“When the start price for taxi journeys rose to £3, there was huge resistance among customers. Holidaymakers in particular, reliant on seeing the meter, routinely accused me of ‘ripping them off’. A noticeable drop in trade came coupled with the general perception that ‘you taxi drivers are just being greedy now’, and it has been a challenge to recover from,” he added.

However, Adrian Twiddy, principal licensing officer said: “The new taxi fare structure is a maximum fare, not a compulsory minimum – taxi drivers can charge less if they wish to do so and they can also remain on the old rate.

The new maximum fares were bought into affect following a request from the Skegness Taxi Owners’ Association (STOA) during the annual fare structure review which asked for the increases to be sanctioned.”

ELDC claim that before the introduction of the increase, the proposal was advertised and only one objection was received from the STOA arguing that the proposed increased was not high enough.

“The council’s Licencing Committee reviews the fare structure for East Lindsey annually taking into account any views or concerns expressed. This year the only comment received was from the STOA asking for a fare increase. The next fare review will be in February 2014,” Mr Twiddy added.

“We will continue to support the taxi drivers in the district and welcome feedback from them to enable an informed decision to be made when setting the fare structure in future,” he explined.

Mr Twiddy also advised that if the recent increases are unsuitable for divers, they can remain on the previous rate.

But Mr Hardaker feels it will reinforce ‘contempt’ and further ‘penalise the neediest’ in society.