East Suffolk plans to unify Waveney and Suffolk Coastal cab fares to be shelved

East Suffolk Council has approved a Hackney Carriage fare increase for the first time in eight years

East Suffolk Council is recommending tariffs for the old Waveney and Suffolk Coastal areas remain separate - Credit: Archant

Plans to unify Hackney Carriage cab fares across the Waveney and Suffolk Coastal areas of East Suffolk look set to be shelved next week after drivers requested the two separate tariff structures remain.

East Suffolk Council opted to launch a consultation following a licensing meeting last year after councillors suggested the fares should be brought together across the old Waveney and Suffolk Coastal district council areas - the two predecessor authorities for East Suffolk Council.

However, consultation responses published in a report set to go before the authority's licensing committee next week has found the trade is in favour of keeping tariffs separate.

The committee has now been recommended to approve keeping separate structures at its meeting on Monday.

The report said: "A significant majority of consultees who responded to the consultation exercise - 27 of the 34 - favoured keeping the status quo of two tariff tables – one for the north of the district and one for the south of the district.

"Six of the 34 consultees who responded favoured one single East Suffolk tariff table for the whole of the district to simplify the tariff structure across the district and potentially reduce administration costs/fees."

Babergh cab companies have said the new tariffs for Hackney carriages will create more confusion for

Hackney Carriage cabs are ones which can queue in taxi ranks and be hailed from the roadside - Credit: Archant

The report said it was "unusual" for a district council to have split tariffs in its geographical area, but said it was still lawful and was a symptom of the transition from the old councils to the new.

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Key reasons cited by drivers for keeping the split tariffs included feedback from passengers that prices are currently fair, the north and south areas of the district having different customers and needs, and the current climate not being the correct time to make changes to fares.

Cabbies also raised concerns that it could cause financial hardship and cause people to leave the industry - particularly when the Covid-19 pandemic had already disrupted business so much.

Hackney Carriage cabs are those which can queue on taxi ranks or be hailed from the roadside - the tariffs do not apply to private hire cabs.

Tariff reviews are normally prompted by those in the trade. In the Suffolk Coastal area that happened in October last year - the first time in eight years, while the council's report indicated that the reason a tariff review had not been triggered in the Waveney area was that drivers were content with fares as they currently stand.

Fares in the north currently stand at £3 starting rate during the day with 20p increases every 146 yards after the first 987 yards. In the south, the starting rate is £3.60 for the first 800 yards with 20p additional cost every 220 yards.

Night rates (11pm-7am) in the north begin at £3.20 for the first 789 yards and a 20p increase every 121 yards, while the south's night tariff begins at £4.20 for the first 800 yards and 20p every subsequent 196 yards.

Additional charges apply for additional passengers, luggage and on Christmas and New Years for both portions of the district.