Taxi fares in Harrogate could be going up - as cabbies warn trade has 'suffered immensely' during Covid

Taxi drivers in Harrogate have renewed calls for a fare increase after being denied a rise earlier in the pandemic.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 6:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 6:38 pm
Harrogate cabbies have renewed calls for a fare increase after being denied a rise earlier this year.

Cabbies are calling on Harrogate Borough Council to put prices up by a minimum 3% to £2 per mile - with warnings that the trade has "suffered immensely" during the coronavirus outbreak.

They have also put another option on the table to boost their meters by 10% to £2.14 per mile in a move which would make Harrogate the sixth most expensive place in the UK to get picked up.

The calls will be considered by councillor Mike Chambers, cabinet member for housing and safer communities, who rejected demands for a price hike in April but promised a review this autumn.

Councillor Chambers previously said an increase would have been asking customers to pay over the odds at the start of the pandemic and he will now hold a review meeting on 27 October.

In a letter to the council, one taxi driver said the trade had seen "little or no work whatsoever" and that the authority had "done nothing in way of providing help for struggling taxi drivers."

They added: "Many drivers that have rented vehicles have had to hand them back and walk away, as the business is no longer viable in its present state.

"Bringing in the tariff increase now would go some way to assist the difficulty in income drivers have."

Harrogate is currently the 31st most expensive place in the UK to get a taxi, according to a league table by trade magazine Private Hire Monthly.

A move to boost prices by 10% would put the district only behind London Heathrow, Luton Airport, Epsom, London and Watford in the charts.

A 3% increase on prices would put Harrogate in joint ninth place with Bournemouth, Brighton, Cheltenham and Mid Sussex.

Harrogate Borough Council uses a formula to calculate how taxi fares should be set, using things like vehicles costs, parts and labour, fuel and cost of living to give a final figure.

The last fares hike took effect in December 2018 which resulted in a 3% rise.

The setting of fares is a statutory duty placed upon the council whose responsibility it is to strike a balance between setting a fare that is acceptable to both customers and cabbies.

Councillor Chambers has the final say on decision making.

Taxi drivers in Harrogate have also asked for a 10p flag fall increase which would see the starting price for journeys rise from £3.30 to £3.40.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter