Cardiff Council has revealed plans to increase cab fares by between 18% and 41% on journeys within the city, but is to consider an alternative proposal from a leading taxi company before it makes its final decision.
The rises were proposed by Cardiff Council's Cabinet in June and set in response to the sharp increases in fuel costs and second-hand cars, with public consultation taking place between 11 July and 25 July.
In that time, the council received 226 individually signed but identical letters of support from licensed Cardiff drivers, and one objection - from Dragon Taxis in Cardiff, which also proposed an alternative proposal.
In the supporting letters, drivers claimed the trade was in a "critical situation due to inflationary pressures that have hit... harder than other industries". It added that many drivers had left the trade, blaming diesel costs rising by 61% between March 2018 and this July and the average price of used cars rising by 32% between April 2021 and April 2022.
"Many Hackney drivers have their plates on hold," it said, "because they cannot make enough money to live on after expenses. If the increase is not implemented our trade is on a downward spiral and there will be fewer Hackney taxis available".
Under the new proposal - which will be debated by the Council's Cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday 28 September- fares would rise by different rates depending on the length of the journey, the time of day and the day of the week.
The maximum charge for a 10-mile journey between 5am and 8pm, Monday to Friday, would rise by 18.1%, from £20.40 to £24.10. The same distance on weekday evenings (8pm-10pm) and between 5am and 10pm on Saturdays and Sundays would cost £26,70, a rise of 30.1% on the current charge of £20.40. On any day between 10pm and 5am, and all day on Bank Holidays, a 10-mile journey would rise by 41.6%, from £21.40 to £30.30.
In the local authority league table for two-miles fares, Cardiff is currently 161st (£6) but the proposed rise to £7.50 would lift it to 45th out of 358 council areas.
In its counter proposal, which suggests a 13.43% increase for the average booking, Dragon Taxis said it represents more than 800 drivers licensed by Cardiff Council. "A balance between what is fair for drivers and what is manageable for passengers has been the cornerstone of our applications," it said.
"We also take the long-term view that the tariff increase must be considered carefully not to unfairly ‘punish' passengers to the extent that passenger demand is significantly impacted."
Cllr Dan De'Ath, the Council's Cabinet member for Transport and Strategic Planning, said: "We are very aware of the impact that the rise in fuel prices and used cars has had on the licensed cab trade and in these areas the rises have been far higher than the standard rate of inflation.
"But we have to balance the evidence of rising costs and fairness for drivers with consideration for the customer."
In the report to Cabinet, members have been asked to decide between the original proposal or adopt the alternative suggestion from Dragon Taxis and to set a date of 8 October for the changes to come into effect.