Fares for taxis and private hire vehicles are set to remain the same, despite some calls for an increase.
Fife Council’s regulation and licensing committee will meet on Tuesday to consider a tariff and charges which will apply for the next 12 months, with councillors expected to back the status quo following recommendations made by the region’s taxi fare scale review sub-committee.
If approved, the ‘flag’ fare will remain at £3.20 for the first 1000 yards of a journey between 6am and 10pm, going up to £3.95 between 10pm and 6am or where the hire extends beyond the Fife boundary.
Waiting times and costs are also expected to stay the same, with a 20p charge for each period of 48 seconds.
A report to councillors will stress the cost of running a taxi business, drivers’ wages, maintenance, the cost of replacing vehicles and the price of fuel and insurance has all been taken into account, but the sub-committee was of the view there should be no increase in the level of fares this year.
Noting an across the board increase would probably be detrimental to businesses, William Watson, on behalf of the Glenrothes Taxi Association, had suggested a “small, focused rise”, which would see the ‘flag’ kept at £3.20 but the yardage changed from 1000 to 950 yards, while the waiting time charge would be based on 45 seconds rather than 48.
He said: “These are small changes, and barely noticeable on journeys between £5 and £6, but for the trade are a step in the right direction.
“If we do not do anything but merely retain the status quo, in real terms, we are dropping income and next year may have to take harsher steps.”
However, that view was not shared by the Glenrothes Private Hire and Taxi Association, a different body, which called for no alterations.
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“It is the unanimous opinion of our members that the fares should remain unchanged this year,” said Colin Fraser, on behalf of the group.
“Last year we were awarded a healthy rise, and with little change in expenses since we are confident that the current fare level is ample to see us through to the next review.”
Councillors have been told that any change would have resource implications for the council, with staff time needed to recalibrate meters, to write to affected parties of the proposed fare scales and allow for appeals, and to advertise the proposed fares in the media.