Council raises cab fares to cover taxi firms’ costs

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TAXI fares are set to increase in Gosport this autumn.

A meeting of Gosport Borough Council’s licensing board agreed to increase hackney carriage charges.

It means fares will go up just more than half a per cent from September 1, subject to a public consultation.

Board chairman Councillor Roger Allen said the changes had been brought in to meet the increased cost of running hackney carriages.

He said: ‘This increase is determined by looking at the increase of costs incurred by the trade over the preceding year. This 0.54 per cent brings them level.

‘It’s not in essence an increase, it just covers their costs.’

He added he had expected a deputation from firms but none was made.

Drivers charge £2.20 for the first 199 metres and this will not change.

Firms say the changes mean going from Gosport Ferry terminal to Fareham will only cost an extra 20p.

But it will cost each cab, of which there are more than 60 in Gosport, £21 each to change their meters.

Ahead of the meeting last Tuesday, council officers wrote to 60 plate holders asking for their views.

They were asked if they wanted to see the increase or have no increase at all.

Mehmet Zurel disagreed with any change to the fares.

He wrote: ‘Business is quiet enough as it is and an increase in fare would put customers off as well.

‘Also I would have to pay for my meter recalibration as well and even an increase in fare does not cover this.’

Just 15 responded, with five agreeing with the increase.

Two wanted to see the flag pull-off rate upped from £2.20 to accommodate the increase.

Four wanted no increase to the rate.

And three disagreed with both options and gave no preference for anything else.

Driver Andrew Christian also disagreed but asked for an increase across all the different distance rates.

He said that should happen as the majority of journeys were under two miles.

He said: ‘I agree that we need an increase in the tariff and that the increase should be small and applied each year.

‘But this proposal is an insult to the trade.

‘The increase needs to be across the tariff range and not only after 3,700 metres.’

Councillors agreed unanimously to up the fares.