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Kent taxis starting tariff rate could be set for £1 increase to help cabbies cover rising costs

Updated: Feb 15

In an effort to alleviate the financial strain on taxi drivers in Medway, Kent, local authorities are considering a proposal to increase the flag rate—the initial fee for hiring a cab—from £3 to £4.

The move, advocated by the Medway Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (MLTDA), comes in response to a survey of its members and aims to provide drivers with a more sustainable income amidst the surging cost of living.

The proposal, presented to Medway Council's licensing sub-committee, outlines that while the flag rate may see a hike, tariffs for distance traveled and waiting time will remain unchanged, standing at 20p per 170 yards and 20p for every 40 seconds of waiting, respectively.

Nigel Jackson, chairman of the MLTDA, emphasised that the proposed increase is a measure designed to ease the financial pressures facing drivers, making the profession more appealing. The Association's deliberation over the rate adjustment reflects a careful balance between ensuring drivers' viability and maintaining affordable service for customers. Jackson reassured that, even with the adjustment, Medway's taxis would continue to offer rates more favourable than those of competing app-based services.

This proposed adjustment marks the first potential tariff increase since September 2022, highlighting the industry's cautious approach to fare changes.

Jackson revealed that a survey among taxi drivers showed the necessity of working up to 70 hours a week to secure a decent living, highlighting the urgent need for financial relief within the profession. "This is purely to cover our rising ongoing costs as an industry," Jackson stated.

Cllr Dan McDonald, chair of the sub-committee, recognised the importance of supporting licensed taxi drivers. The committee recommend the tariff increase to the cabinet for final approval.


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