Harrogate taxi fare rise will ‘strike a balance’ insists council

Taxi bosses are unhappy at the three per cent increase in fares across the town.
Taxi bosses are unhappy at the three per cent increase in fares across the town.

Taxi fares in Harrogate will increase by three per cent from December 1, with Coun Mike Chambers calling the rate rise “as fair as possible” for both cab drivers and their clients.

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Coun Chambers made the final decision to implement a three per cent increase to the flag fall, running mile and waiting time of hackney carriages at a meeting on Tuesday.

It followed a period of consultation after taxi drivers voiced their concerns that the proposed rate rise was too low.

Earlier in the year the Harrogate Hackney carriage trade asked for a 4.78 per cent rise, with Coun Chambers countering with a 2.5 per cent rise in response. A three per cent rise was then proposed.

Last month Kevin O’Boyle, owner of Central Taxis and the longest holder of a taxi license in the district, described the proposed three per cent rise as “pathetic”.

He claimed that taxi drivers were already working 60 to 80 hour weeks to cover rising costs.

Similar letters of opposition were submitted by taxi drivers during the consultation process.

Two submissions claimed the figure ignored the widely used formula for deciding fare increases, which is based on cost of living figures, and increase on expenditure to run a taxi business.

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However Coun Chambers, who as the cabinet member for housing and safer communities had the ultimate say on the final rate, said his decision was about setting a fair price for both the businesses and passengers.

“It’s as fair as possible for both the traders, but there is a need to bear in mind the needs of the travelling public,” he said.

Coun Chambers added that his perspective hadn’t changed from his view that a three per cent rise was the fairest option possible for all.

“It’s not intended to put the traders at a disadvantage at all, it’s just trying to strike the fairest balance,” he said.

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Under the three per cent rise, the cost of a one-mile journey will not change.

A two-mile journey rises from £6.60 to £6.80, three-miles from £8.60 to £8.80, a five-mile journey rises from £12.20 to £12.60 and a 10-mile journey will increase from £21.80 to £22.40.

The current price for flag fall (fixed starting price) in Harrogate is £3.20, with the running mile currently set at 20p per 185 yards.

The waiting time is set at 20p per every 41.62 seconds.