Coventry taxi fares to rise by a quarter

Passengers face a big hike in charges after cab drivers argue they need a better deal to cover their costs


Taxi passengers in Coventry are facing a 25 per cent hike in fares from the end of this month.

The rise was approved by Coventry City Council today after cab drivers argued they needed a better deal to cover their costs.

Journeys will now be charged at 25p for every tenth of a mile or 48 seconds – up from the previous rate of 20p.

The standard fee of £2.80 on arrival in the day and £3.60 at night will be frozen, but the distance the taxi must travel before the meter starts ticking over has been reduced by roughly a quarter – to about half a mile.

Council officials had originally only recommended shortening the distance travelled before the meter kicked in.

But Coun Rachel Lancaster, cabinet member for public services, went further and decided on a 25 per cent rise across the rest of the journey.

It means a two-mile journey will increase from £5.40 to £6.30 in the day and from £7.80 to £9 in the evening. On public holidays the standard fee of £3.90 will stay in place but the rolling charge will rise to 35p from 30p.

Coun Lancaster told drivers: “Having listened to your concerns I’m willing to increase the 20p rate to 25p.” It is the first rise in taxi fares since 2008 and will come into force on September 29.

Alan Lewis, regional organiser for Unite, welcomed the news after he argued the proposed reduction in journey length before the meter kicked in was not a substantial enough measure.

He said: “We are happier than when we went in. Clearly, over a six year period, the amount that the drivers have fallen behind is significant.

“As far as the public is concerned, the amount needed to address the shortfall would be astronomical to introduce in one go rather than if it had been introduced incrementally. This gives us a starting point and we are pleased they have seen the increase they proposed wasn’t enough.”

Mr Lewis also said drivers would be pushing for further increases during a scheduled review in 12 months time.

Trevor Davies, who has been driving a cab in the city for 40 years, said the change initially proposed would have been the “last straw” for his career.

He said: “It was a pleasant surprise that we were able to get an increase off them which actually covers running costs.

“In 2008 they scrapped the extra 20p charge for each additional person in the taxi. Most other towns do that and we should have it back.”

Source : Coventry Telegraph

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