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West Suffolk taxi fares could increase in January

Bury St Edmunds town centre taxi rank Picture: ARCHANT

Bury St Edmunds town centre taxi rank Picture: ARCHANT

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The price of getting a Hackney cab in west Suffolk could rise by 3.3% in January under new proposals.

A consultation has been launched for residents in the Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury districts ahead of the borough council merger in May.

The creation of the new West Suffolk Council has made it necessary to align the two current licensing districts.

The cost of a running mile was aligned for each district in June without increasing the overall fare.

Alignment in June also introduced 12am as the crossover time from tariff one to tariff two for both authorities – the time was previously 11pm in St Edmundsbury.

This has now been reconsidered with a proposed change back to 11pm for both authorities.

Lance Stanbury and Susan Glossop, cabinet members for planning and growth at Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury councils, said: “The level of increase mainly depends on the time and distance of the journey. We carefully weighed the deterrent a fare increase may have on making a journey with the disincentive to drivers to make longer journeys.”

The council says the fares rise, planned to come into effect from January 8, would be the first increase for St Edmundsbury drivers since 2015, and the first for Forest Heath cabbies since 2014.

Mr Stanbury and Mrs Glossop added: “West Suffolk is predominantly rural so many trips are above the Department for Transport national average of two-five miles.

“A 10-mile journey on tariff three currently costs £39.73 in Forest Heath and £40.49 in St Edmundsbury but in the newly formed West Suffolk Council from May 2019 the charge anywhere in the district will be £41.74.

“We want to see better business for all, and our role in regulating fares is to protect the public interest as well as allowing taxi companies reasonable inflationary increases.

“We have worked closely with the trade to understand how we can together make life easier for the customer and the driver. We think this is a good recommendation and we invite the public to give us their comments.”

Consultation is open until Friday, December 21. Residents can visit www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/consultation to submit comments online, email licensing@westsuffolk.gov.uk or write to West Suffolk Licensing Team, West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds IP33 3YU.

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