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Luton Council approves significant taxi fare increases ranging between 4.31% and 37.79% on tariffs

The Luton Council Executive has ratified a series of fare adjustments for Hackney Carriage vehicles, marking a significant increase across various fare rates. This adjustment comes into immediate effect, as detailed in the council's recent proposal.

The new fare structure includes a 10.59% increase in Distance Rate 1 for a 3-mile journey, a modest 4.31% rise in Distance Rate 2 with a reduction in minimum distance to 502 metres, and more substantial hikes of 24.79% and 37.79% for Distance Rates 3 and 4 respectively. Additionally, telephone booking fees have seen a 33% increase, while charges for cab fouling have surged by 43%. A novel charge has also been introduced for Removal jobs exceeding the metered fare.

The backdrop to these changes was set by a prior council decision on 8 January 2024, authorising public consultation on fare increases proposed by the Hackney Trade Association. Following a rigorous statutory consultation process, including public notices and direct communication with stakeholders, the council proceeded with the proposed fare adjustments despite receiving two critical comments from councillors concerned about the impact on the cost of living and competition with private hire services.

Despite these concerns, no objections were recorded from the public or the trade. The council’s justification for the increase centres on ensuring a fair, transparent, and reasonable fare structure that supports the sustainability of the Hackney Carriage trade in Luton, particularly in light of the escalating cost of living and the ongoing shift towards more environmentally friendly vehicles.

The Executive's decision highlights a broader commitment to Luton's 2040 vision of fostering a healthy, fair, and sustainable town, balancing economic growth with environmental sustainability and social equity.

However, the new fare structure also presents potential challenges, notably the risk of taxi demand due to higher fares, which could drive consumers towards alternative transport options.


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