Ipswich: Taxi drivers quitting jobs as fuel rises mount

The rise in fuel prices is “killing” a number of businesses in the town, it was claimed today.

A union member claims at least a dozen Ipswich taxi drivers have lost their jobs as a result of rising fuel costs.

And taxi fares in the town could rise as a result of the hard-hitting hikes.

The average price for a litre of unleaded petrol in Ipswich on Tuesday was 136.75p, with the highest coming in at 140p. The highest cost of diesel was 144.90p

Taxi bosses are due to start negotiations with borough council chiefs over the issue and say they have no choice but to ask for an increase.

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They feel that an increase of ten per cent would alleviate the burden facing drivers, but no decision will be made until December.

Eric Pearl, a member of the Ipswich Taxi Drivers Association, said: “The mood among taxi drivers is not great right now.

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“Drivers have been facing a 20 per cent increase in fuel costs combined with a 40 pc rise in insurance bills.

“We will meet with the council and have put forward a proposal saying that we need a rise of 10pc and that’s an absolute minimum.

“We know we can’t ask for a massive rise because that would kill our trade and we accept that the council want to protect businesses.

“The reality is that we may have to settle for 5pc, but anything lower than that would cause a lot of problems.”

Mr Pearl added that several drivers and companies have been put out of business.

He added: “Off the top of my head, I would say at least a dozen drivers have had to leave the profession.

“The fuel issue really is killing businesses because the prices are up and down like a yo-yo and you can’t plan ahead at any time.

“Every week there’s three or four new guys coming into the profession and one or two having to leave.

“It’s a dog eat dog world out there for taxi drivers right now and it’s the fuel issue that’s breaking the camel’s back.”

Ipswich Borough Council was unavailable for comment.

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