Members received a report on the Hackney Carriage Table of Fares and a supplementary agenda pack detailing updated information on fuel prices.
The Principal Licensing Officer, Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS), presented the report and in doing so informed the Committee that, officers had recently received a request on behalf of a number of hackney carriage licence holders for the current table of fares to be varied to increase the maximum fares that could be charged.
Hackney Carriage (“Taxi”) fares were made up of an initial hiring charge and a
“mileage” rate, both of which were expressed in terms of distance and / or time
per unit cost. This was because when a hired taxi was stationary or moving
slowly in traffic the meter continued charging, but by time, instead of distance.
The table of fares applied only to hackney carriage vehicles. Private hire
operators were free to agree their hiring charges in advance with their
customers, normally at the time of booking the journey.
Appendix 1 to the report detailed the current table of fares. The current table
of fares was approved by the Licensing Committee at its meeting held on 24th
June 2013 and had taken effect on 1st August 2013.
The structure of the current table of fares was somewhat complex. The table
of fares was structured so as to set out one single tariff of charges and then
allowed the driver to charge extra depending on a number of factors including
the time and date when the journey commenced, how many passengers were
being carried, how the vehicle was booked and the visibility conditions.
Officers recently received correspondence, sent on behalf of a number of
hackney carriage licence holders, requesting that the Council gave
consideration to varying the table of fares. The initial request was for a £1
increase to the charge for the first mile and for subsequent miles to increase
from the current level of around £1.77 per mile to £2 per mile.
Officers acknowledged this request and had asked representatives of the
hackney carriage trade whether they would like to try and also use this
opportunity to simplify the table of fares for drivers and passengers, as well as
with a view to providing those in the hackney carriage trade with a fair and
reasonable increase to the amount they could charge for journeys.
The hackney carriage trade representatives were receptive to this idea and
following liaison with officers regarding a more simplified structure for the
table of fares, a proposal was put forward that the table of fares be varied to
that as detailed at Appendix 2 to the report.
When drawing comparisons between hackney carriage fares in different
areas, the normal method used was to compare the cost of a 2-mile journey
on Tariff 1. A table showing a comparison of the hackney carriage fares
charged for a 2-mile journey on Tariff 1 in other local districts was detailed at
Appendix 3 to the report.
If the table of fares proposed by the trade were to be implemented, this would
see the cost of a two mile journey on Tariff 1 increase from the current level of
£5.80 to £7.00, an increase of £1.20 or 20.7%.
Members’ attention was drawn to the Supplementary agenda pack which
provided updated information on current fuel prices.
The Principal Licensing Officer, WRS further informed the Committee that other
authorities would be looking at fares, due to the increase in the cost of living
and recent fuel cost increases.
Further debate followed, with the Principal Licensing Officer, WRS responding
to a number of questions from Members with regard to reviewing fares annually
and the possibility of reviewing any increased fares later during 2022, should
fuel prices reduce or circumstances merit it.
In response to further questions from Members, the Principal Licensing
Officer, WRS, stated that private hire fares had significantly increased and that
hackney carriage fares had fallen behind. Private hire drivers / operators could
react quickly to increase their fares, should the need arise. However, hackney
carriage fares under Section 65 (1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous
Provisions ACT 1976 stated that a district council may fix the rates or fares
within the district and that any variation should be published in at least one
local newspaper and that any objections received had to be considered by the
Members commented that they had welcomed the report, but were somewhat
surprised that it had been 9 years since the hackney carriage table of fares was
An amendment to the recommendation that “an interim review of Hackney Carriage Table of Fares if circumstances merit it”, be included, was proposed and seconded.
On being put to the vote, the Committee voted in favour of the amended recommendation.
RESOLVEDthat the requested variations to the table of fares, be agreed and
a) that the proposed table of taxi fares as set out in Appendix 2 to the report, be advertised as a public notice and objections from the public invited in accordance with the requirements of section 65, Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1976;
b) that if no objections were received from the public within 14 days of publication of the notice that the proposed tariff to come into effect on 16 May 2022.
c) that if objections were received in the stated time, that the matter to be considered further at the next meeting of the Licensing Committee, and a decision made as to whether the variations to the table of fares should be made; and
d) that an interim review of the Hackney Carriage Table of Fares, if
circumstances merit it, be carried out.