Councilors have agreed to consult over plans to increase taxi fares for Hackney cars in Merthyr Tydfil. A request has been received from members of the Hackney Carrying Trade to increase the current rate of Merthyr Tydfil Council fares.
Cabinet approved a consultation on Wednesday June 8, which calls for a 50p increase on all fares for the first mile (or part thereof), with the last increase in taxi fares taking place in March 2020. Figures from Private Hire and Taxi Monthly magazine show that based on a two mile journey, the current national average fare on fare one is £6.24.
Council officials used May 2022 League Table figures for all Welsh authorities and a comparison of the two mile fare across Wales shows that based on a two mile journey the average fare current Welsh on fare one is £5.78. The current two mile fare from Merthyr Tydfil on the first fare is £5.50 and the new fare is £6.
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Merthyr Tydfil is currently 287th in the National Two-Mile Fare Ranking which takes into account the position of highest fares to lowest fares set by 359 licensing authorities. The report adds that in Wales the current tariff puts Merthyr Tydfil 16th out of 22 authorities
The new fares would see a current two-mile journey increase by 50p and the new fare would be 22p above the Welsh average for a two-mile journey and 24p below the national average. Merthyr Tydfil would then be 201st out of 359 instances in the national table and 7th in Wales.
The firm’s report says all 201 licensed Hackney drivers and car owners were consulted, with 34 respondents (16.92%) and most being in favour. One response did not support the proposal but suggested a different amendment be made saying: ’35p added to rate table, not 50p. Customers find it difficult enough as it is. The taxi rank is busy because there are no buses, let’s not chase customers.
Another response that did not support the proposal suggested that a different amendment be made saying: “Start Tariff 2 from 9pm.” Another response against the proposal said: ‘Raising fares is not fair to members of the public. I don’t recommend raising fares, as taxi drivers and private drivers earn more than the average living wage.
A response supporting the proposal also suggested an additional amendment saying, “I would like Tariff 2 to start at 11 p.m. instead of 11:30 p.m.” Another response in support of the proposal said: “Due to inflation in fuel, parts and labor prices, as taxi drivers we feel we cannot continue to take the same rates as before, we have to balance the costs and earn a living.
If no objections are raised following a newspaper announcement, then the change would come into effect on the expiry date of the notice period. But if an objection is received, the firm will have to consider it before the change is implemented.
Councilor Michelle Jones said: “I know we are going through tough times right now. But I think we have to keep in mind that we have to support our local taxi drivers.
She said costs were rising for them and they had to “look after” their taxi drivers. She said, “The last thing we need is to lose them.”
Councilor Geraint Thomas said it was a ‘double-edged sword’ between protecting taxi drivers and protecting residents and they should listen carefully to any objections that arise.
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