Three Rivers District taxi tariffs could see an increase due to a significant drop in tips and rising operating costs.
Mealings Taxis led on a request for the tariff adjustment, attributing the need to the cost of living crisis, inflationary pressures, and the general higher expenses associated with running a vehicle, particularly an electric one.
According to Mealings Taxis, vehicle insurance costs have risen by 22% in the past year since April 2023, as reported by Confused.com. Additionally, the Consumer Prices Index, including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH), experienced an 8.9% increase in the 12 months leading up to March 2023. The major contributors to this inflation rate were housing and household services, primarily electricity, gas, and other fuels, along with food and non-alcoholic beverages.
Of the Hackney Carriage fleet in the Three Rivers District, approximately 40% consists of electric vehicles. However, the UK has witnessed a staggering 66.7% increase in electricity prices and a 129.4% increase in gas prices in the same 12-month period leading up to March 2023, while other fuel prices have remained stable.
Based on feedback from drivers within their fleet, Mealings Taxis estimates that vehicle repair costs have risen by 10% in the past 9 months.
The increase in card payments also affected the overall income of taxi drivers. Prior to this shift, less than 10% of hackney carriage payments were made by card. Currently, over 50% of payments are made by card, resulting in increased costs for drivers paying processing fees to the provider. Furthermore, the rise in card payments has led to a reduction in the amount of tips received by drivers.
In light of these circumstances, Mealings Taxis recommended an increase in hackney carriage fares. The proposed adjustments include a £1 increase in the fare for the 'first 1015 meters or part thereof', raising it to £4. Additionally, they suggest a £1 increase in the 'night time charge', which would become £4.50.
The tariff proposals will be deliberated upon by the TRDC Special Regulatory Services Committee on 12 October. Members of the Three Rivers District Council are urged to seriously consider these recommendations in order to address the financial difficulties faced by taxi drivers.