Malvern hackney carriage taxi drivers will not be getting a fare increase after councillors decided to freeze prices for another 12 months.
Malvern Hills District Council’s executive committee councillors rejected a ten per cent fare increase which was put forward by the town’s taxi drivers.
If councillors had decided to increase fares, the base fare would have risen from £4 to £4.10 with each extra mile also rising by 10p from £2.50 to £2.60.
Alistair Smith, trade representative for hackney carriages and private hire taxis in Malvern, said: “The living wage has risen from £6.30 to £8.22 since the last fares rise, a rise of 30%. It should be noted this is a GOVT MANDATED rise applicable in law. To cover this would demand a fares rise of around 15%. Even for those who are self employed, this is relevant as their earnings are obviously falling relative to others and were probably at or even below the living wage to begin with.
“It should also be noted that benefits have been frozen for the last 3 years on the assumption that wages are rising.
“Inflation over the last 5 years now stands at 12%. Given that we are asking for 9.5% on a 2 mile journey, even this leaves fares 2.5% lower in real terms than this time in 2014. By way of comparison, since April 2014, train fares have risen by 15.5%, the last rise being justified.”
Cllr Tom Wells, the council’s portfolio holder for community services, said: “We have amongst the highest fares in Worcestershire currently and at the same time the average income in Malvern Hills is amongst the lowest in the West Midland. “Also we will all be aware of the recent cut in fuel prices which will help the taxi industry at this time. I’m minded not to go to for an increase having considered all the information,” he told the executive committee at a meeting which was held on Wednesday 6 May.
The final decision was to deny a fare increase, which can be re-evaluated again in 12 months.