taxi sign, pic creative commons by Brad Hammonds

Proposed taxi fare increases in Cheshire East could force people to walk home from late night shifts posing a risk to their safety, two councillors said.

The new maximum fares suggested for Hackney carriages will be advertised publicly and consulted on, Cheshire East’s licensing committee decided on Monday.

The increases – which are different for the three zonal areas of the former Macclesfield, Congleton and Crewe & Nantwich borough councils – are proposed because taxi drivers face the double whammy of soaring fuel prices on top of the rising cost of living.

A statement read out at the meeting on behalf Congleton councillor Rob Moreton, where fares in the town haven’t increased since 2015, said: “With fuel prices at record highs drivers are finding it increasingly hard to stay in business.”

He said one Congleton driver had already sold his cab.

“We are in danger of losing many more,” said Cllr Moreton (Ind).

But Crewe councillors Sally Handley and Hazel Faddes said fares in Crewe and Nantwich are already the highest of the three zones and further increases could put people’s safety at risk.

Cllr Handley (Lab) said: “I find some of these increases concerning because people will be forced to make a decision – can I get home safe in a taxi or am I just going to walk home which, as we’ve all seen over the last few years, is not always safe.

“I want these taxi drivers to be in work, they should be making a living, they work incredibly hard.”

Cllr Handley said soaring fuel prices were being passed on to those at the bottom rather than being dealt with by those at the top.

“Yet again, it’s coming down to the people who are working til three in the morning at takeaways, and what have you,” she said.

Cllr Faddes (Lab) told the committee: “We don’t have buses in Crewe after 6pm. We don’t have buses on a Sunday.

“A lot of people cannot afford a taxi any more so they are forced to walk, so it’s people who are working at the hospital, people who are working in shops, so it is difficult.”

She said Crewe and Nantwich fares were already higher than Congleton and Macclesfield “so I would appreciate it if it was more equal throughout the borough”.

Licensing officer Kim Evans said: “It’s a difficult balance for the committee to strike a reasonable increase for the trade that allows them to continue to meet that living wage, and then to not have such an increase that it impacts on customers to the point where it’s having a knock-on effect again or to public safety.”

The committee approved the proposals for each zone be published for consultation.

The new fares will only come into effect once any objections, if received, have been considered.

Any change in fares only relates to Hackney carriage vehicles as the council has no power to set the fees in relation to private hire vehicles.

Full details of the proposed maximum new fares, which vary according to zone areas, day and night time charges and bank holidays, can be found on the council’s website on the agenda for the licensing meeting, which took place on Monday, June 6.

(Story by Belinda Ryan, local democracy reporter. Taxi sign pic under creative commons by Brad Hammonds)

One Comment

  1. Taxi companies need this rise as you will loose a lot more companies and drivers and the knowledge test to get you badges Is horrendous and it’s a money making racket for Cheshire east so people are not wanting to do taxing but I would like to know how the drivers who are not English are passing the knowledge test when people who have lived in the area all there lives struggle to pass .

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