Taxi drivers

‘It’s only going to get harder’: Taxi drivers desperately need higher fares to cope with soaring fuel prices

A Blaenau Gwent taxi driver has called for an increase in local fares following soaring fuel prices due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Stephen Giffard, 42, has run Giffys Taxi’s in Abertillery for six years and says allowing taxi services to raise their starting fares would make a big difference in the months ahead as rising fuel costs could make that almost impossible for them. make a profit.

He said: “Spiking fuel costs are affecting us all massively, and as they continue to rise, it will only become more difficult for taxi services in the borough. As things stand, we have to put an extra £600 worth of fuel in the tanks every month just to keep us alive and if we can’t raise our prices at all it will come out of our own pockets.

“When you look at the way gas and electricity prices have also increased this year, the increases are coming at us from all angles, and as the current starting taxi fare hasn’t increased for about six years at from £3.20 we hope they can take a look at it now We understand this is a difficult time for all businesses with such high spend and we know we are not alone but we have to continue and I hope that this change will soon materialize for us.

Read more: The head of Blaenau Gwent council presented a motion of no confidence

Councilor Wayne Hodgins of Brynmawr is also calling for change

Stephen, who also runs the popular Celtic Pride martial arts school in the town centre, said that although the increase was only temporary, it would still help local drivers who are all starting to feel the pinch. He added: “Even if it was just 50p on each journey for a period of time, when you’re doing 40 journeys a day, earning an extra £20 could make a huge difference in helping drivers cover costs and reach the We know that’s passing some of the cost on to the customer, which is obviously never nice, but we can’t do anything else with everything else going up.

“We currently offer a number of services, fairs around the borough based in Abertillery, as well as other council contracts such as school races which are off the counter, so we really hope that the council can meet and take a look at our situation from all angles and put something in place.

“Even if it’s just a temporary thing, it would help. If fuel costs start to come down over time, obviously we can look at reducing them again, but I’m sure right now , all taxis here would definitely welcome this idea. .

Councilor Wayne Hodgins of Brynmawr said he had been contacted by a number of taxi owners in recent days who were all concerned about their ability to turn a profit as costs at the pump soared to shocking new heights. It comes as cabinet members in Neath Port Talbot approved a 30% increase in the starting rate of their fare from £2.60 to £3.40 in their area, with Mr Hodgins believing that similar increases in Blaenau Gwent might be the only way to keep many taxi services alive.

Mr Hodgins, 62, who has lived in Brynmawr all his life, says he now hopes to bring the suggestion to council at an urgent licensing meeting to hear feedback on the situation as soon as possible. He said: “It’s no secret that the rising cost of fuel has hit everyone quite hard over the past few weeks, but neither has the taxi drivers in the borough of Blaenau Gwent who have seen a massive increase in their costs.

“As a board member, I have asked the head of licensing and the company director to look at what we can do to support the taxi industry until fuel prices start to come down. It’s really important to us to keep these services running in the not only for the economy of Blaenau Gwent, but also because these taxi services help so many people get around the borough, from school trips to services for the elderly and disabled.

“It’s a crucial lifeline for some people and even though we can’t directly support them as an authority, if we could adjust their rates slightly, I’m sure that would be a huge help. Although this was just a few cents more per mile, it could make a big difference, and the goal is to make sure no one goes broke during that time.”

You can find out more about the difficulties faced by other taxi services in Wales here.

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