Councillors have backed calls made by taxi drivers in Tendring to raise cab fares in the District.
The Tendring District Taxi Association (TDTA) made a formal request to Tendring District Council (TDC) to increase the prices and distance rates its members charge.
Cab fares have remained unchanged in the District since July 2012, and since then RPI inflation has risen by 13.7%, the TDTA said.
Its suggested changes also aim to remove the need for drivers to no longer need to carry 5p and 10p coins.
Members of TDC’s Licensing Committee at a meeting this evening backed in principle the new tariffs suggested by the TDTA.
A 14-day consultation period will now be held to allow the public to comment on the proposals. If there are no objecting comments then the Council’s licensing manager, in conjunction with the committee chairman, will sign the changes into effect to begin 28 days later – giving taxi drivers time to adapt their meters.
If objections are made then the proposals will go back to the committee, next scheduled to meet in July.
Under the proposals, one mile will rise by 20p to £4.60 (up 4.5%), two miles will rise by 45p to £6.40 (up 4.5%) and three miles will go up 50p to £8.20 (6.5% increase). Each subsequent 200 yards (183 metres) will cost 20p instead of 19p, while a waiting time of 60 seconds will cost 20p instead of 18p.
The suggested tariffs keep taxi prices lower than those in Colchester.
Mark Cossens, chairman of the Licensing Committee, said the in principle decision to raise fares was the right one.
“Taxi drivers are a key part of the transport network in Tendring, not just supporting the tourism industry and night-time economy but also playing a crucial role in helping residents – particularly the elderly and infirm – to live independently, such as by taking them to the shops, health appointments or to social events,” he said.
“While I am generally reluctant to support putting up prices which will impact upon our residents, in this case I am satisfied it is necessary to enable our taxi drivers to continue their work.
“With no increase in fares for six years now is the right time to adjust prices to prevent taxi drivers going out of business and the potential loss of their services to our residents.”