New Babergh taxi fares set to be approved

Taxi rank. Picture: JASON NOBLE LDRS

New taxi fares have moved a step nearer - Credit: Jason Noble

Fresh Hackney Carriage cab fares to replace those scrapped at zero hour for risking a breach of equality laws will get the final approval next month, after no objections were raised.

Babergh District Council had been due to introduce a new tariff in April despite warnings from cab firms that the fares would penalise those needing larger vehicles, such as wheelchair users and parents with buggies.

But those fares had to be scrapped just days before being introduced because they were found to “inadvertently enable discrimination”.

Since then, licensing officers have worked with the cab trade on new proposals, which went out for consultation between June 14 and July 12.

No objections were received from the public or the trade, and after being signed off by the council’s licensing committee on Monday afternoon, will now go before cabinet next month for final approval.

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If the green light is given, the new fares will be introduced on November 1.

Emma Richbell, licensing officer, said: “Fares for Hackney Carriages in Babergh district have not increased since August 2016.

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“The proposed table of fares in which we have consulted is based on  proposals from drivers, operators and meter agents, and the aim is to provide an increased income for the trade whilst ensuring taxi travel is affordable for all and those only able to travel in the larger wheelchair accessible vehicles are not penalised.”

The proposals for one-four passengers now start at £3.20 for a day rate with an 18p increase every 176 yards, £4.80 for evenings with 27p every 176 yards and £6.40 for Christmas and New Year with 36p every 176 yards.

For five or more passengers the day rate starts at £4.80 with 27p every 176 yards, £6.40 for evenings with 36p every 176 yards and £8 with 45p every 176 yards on Christmas and New Year.

Those fares are maximum fares and only applicable to Hackney Carriage cabs – those that can be hailed from the roadside, not private hire vehicles.

Steve Hale, from Hale-A-Cab in Sudbury, said: “We seem down at the rank relatively happy with the proposal.

“I think it is fair for the public but if we were looking at any more it might be unaffordable for them.

“It’s been quite difficult running a business in Covid – my trade dropped 70% over the last 18 months.

“It’s picking up again thankfully – there will be a lot of people [taxi operators] out there struggling and this will give them a bit of help.”

The revised fares will crucially be in place before the key Christmas period if approved by cabinet next month.

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