Cabbies call for fairer deal

MHBG-08-11-12 Taxi Prices''Taxi drivers pictured at the taxi rank outside Wilkinsons on Bridge Street.
MHBG-08-11-12 Taxi Prices''Taxi drivers pictured at the taxi rank outside Wilkinsons on Bridge Street.

BANBURY’S Hackney cab drivers have launched a campaign to increase their fares in a bid to help them cope with rising costs and increased competition from private-hire firms.

The North Oxfordshire Hackney Association (NOHA) has petitioned Cherwell District Council to make the changes which would see the standard fair increase by 50p per journey, but would dramatically cut rates over the busy Christmas and New Year period.

If approved the plans could see an increase in the current Hackney cab base rate from £2 to £2.50 for the first quarter mile, and an increase from 11p to 12p for each subsequent sixteenth of a mile.

Choudhry Khalid Mahmood Anjum, chairman of North Oxfordshire Hackney Association, said a small fare increase is the only way drivers can cope with the current economic climate.

He said: “We’re just asking for 50p extra. People pay more for a pint of lager or a ticket to a nightclub so what’s wrong with paying for a taxi to take them home?

“Over the last three-four years the cost of living has got so high; insurance and the price of petrol and everything else has gone up, so we’re due a little increase and we’re not asking for a large amount.”

Hackney cab fares have not increased for more than four years but drivers currently charge double-time over the Christmas period, whereas private hire firms charge standard rates.

Mr Anjum explained: “We will scrap double time over Christmas and the new year to help the community.”

NOHA consulted its drivers earlier this year before petitioning the council, which then wrote to all Hackney drivers in the district to canvas their opinions. All 123 Hackney Carriage Vehicle proprietors in Cherwell were consulted and 62 responses were received.

A decision will be made at a meeting of the council’s licensing committee which takes place at Bodicote House today (Thursday) at 2.30pm.

Fares are currently split into four tariffs listed as daytime, night time, Christmas and New Year, and Sundays and bank holidays.