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Northern Ireland taxi group ‘CONDEMNS’ plans for 7.6% fare increase to battle driver shortages

Image credit: Karl Black

Northern Ireland taxi drivers have called on the Transport Minister to ‘revisit the fare review’ and instead ‘impose a minimum fare’ to protect the drivers, following Wednesday’s taxi tariff plans.

The calls for a rethink come as Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon announced plans to bring forward a range of measures to address the shortage of taxi drivers in Northern Ireland.

The Minister will legislate for a 7.6% increase in the maximum taxi fare and will introduce a support package for new drivers.

The new measures follow a targeted 4 week consultation launched on 17 September 2021, detailing the Minister’s proposal for a 7.6% increase in the maximum taxi fare tariff across Northern Ireland. This followed the Minister’s announcement on 10 September of a Taxi Action Plan which proposed further support for the taxi industry.

The consultation was said to have been issued to over 6,000 taxi drivers and to multiple representative groups across Northern Ireland.

Despite the future plans announced cabbies were quick to ‘condemn’ the new measures, suggesting they did not go far enough to help cabbies sustain rising costs and inflation.

A spokesperson from industry campaign group, Taxi Drivers Matter, said via social media: “We at NI Taxi Drivers completely condemn the Minister's decision to award a 7.6% on the maximum fare tariff for taxis.

“It has been widely reported in the media that this is as incentive for new drivers to join the industry but, not only is it not incentive, it's not even close to helping the country's current taxi drivers sustain the rise in the cost of living.

“We strongly urge the minister to revisit the fare review and to impose a minimum fare to protect the drivers from greedy depot owners who constantly subject drivers to longer hours to meet their weekly bills and also implore her to set fares that will allow a driver to make a fair living wage to avoid working men and women falling into poverty.”


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