Council drives ahead with taxi fare rise in High Peak

Taxis
Taxis

Councillors have approved a hike in High Peak taxi fares - the first for six years.

The proposed increase was approved at an ordinary meeting of High Peak Borough Council on Thursday evening by a margin of 23 to 16, with one abstention.

The decision means the new fares are set to come into force as early as next month.

It follows a request by the Buxton Operators and Drivers Association in January to increase the metered fares of its authority-licensed hackney carriages.

Speaking during Thursday’s meeting at the Pavilion Gardens, Councillor Fiona Sloman said: “It is extremely concerning to increase fares across the borough when public transport is so woefully inept.

“These charges will affect people in their day-to-day lives and I just cannot support this rise.”

The basis for the request was made due to the rise in costs associated with running a hackney carriage, including a significant increase in the cost of fuel, insurance and the purchase price of vehicles.

Councillor Tony Kemp said: “Having held a private taxi licence I know the outgoings associated with being a driver and I don’t think with rising costs these drivers are making a living wage.

“Other workforce sectors have seen a slight pay increase over the years but not taxi drivers, and it is wrong to not allow them a chance to cover their costs more fairly.”

The decision will see daytime rates increase from £2.80 to £3 for the first 8/10th of a mile, rising from 26p to 30p for each subsequent 1/10th of a mile thereafter.

Night-time rates between midnight and 6.59am will also increase, from £3.74 to £4 for the first 8/10th of a mile and then from 36p to 40p per each subsequent 1/10th of a mile.

Councillor David Kerr said: “Our taxi drivers are well cherished in the area, but this kind of increase would push us further up the league table compared to other boroughs and this rise is well and truly too exuberant.”

Councillor Emily Thrane said: “We are doing all we can to improve standards of taxi drivers and ensure all passengers are safeguarded and that does come at a cost, but there has been no rise for six years which needs to be addressed.

“I would like to see what drivers earn compared to the living wage, especially when we live in a rural area with a difficult climate.”

Councillor Damien Greenhalgh countered: “We haven’t seen any information on their earnings, it is just hearsay, and until we have these figures I am not able to support the vote to increase fares.”