End of 'cheap' taxis as huge fare rise set to come in - here's how much you'll pay

Taxi fares in Newcastle-under-Lyme could increase by around 25 per cent following a request from drivers. Newcastle is currently one of the cheapest places in the UK to travel by Hackney carriage, with passengers being charged no more than £5.55 for a two-mile journey within the borough during the day.

But drivers have now asked Newcastle Borough Council, which sets the maximum metered fares, to increase the tariffs for the first time in five years. The proposed increase would see the cost of a two-mile journey during the day increase by 24.3 per cent to £6.90. And the cost of the same journey at night under the higher 'tariff two' would be increased from £7.40 to £8.75 - an 18.2 per cent rise.

Newcastle Hackney Carriage Drivers Association is also requesting that tariff two comes into effect at 10pm, rather than midnight. The borough council's licensing and public protection committee will decide whether to approve the changes when they meet on Monday, April 29.

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In a letter to the borough council, drivers association chairman Muhammed Murtaza Alam argued that since the last review, cabbies had been hit with rapidly increasing costs for things like fuel and insurance.

He says: "It has been almost five years since we had the last fair increase in 2019. Since then the cost of living has increased rapidly - fuel prices have increased, insurance premiums, maintenance cost, everything gone up. Also when it comes to replacing vehicles because of licensing requirements the new vehicles are very costly.

"The businesses in Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre close earlier at night time, during the week most of the businesses close before 12am and on weekends everything closes before 2am. Most of the neighbouring councils' taxi fares changes from tariff one to tariff two at 10pm. Therefore it's been a long going demand of the Newcastle-under-Lyme Hackney drivers to amend the tariff so they start at 10pm."

According to a taxi fare league table published by Private Hire and Taxi Monthly Magazine, Newcastle's current cheapest tariff is ranked 328th out of 344 local authorities in the country - the proposed increase would see it move up to 184th.

Taxis licensed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council currently charge £5.90 for a two-mile journey during the day, which is the 313th highest fare in the country. In comparison, in Manchester the fare would be £8.20, while in Nottingham it would be £8.

Newcastle's cabbies have asked for the tariff two period to start at 10pm on two previous occasions. But in 2015 and in 2019, the licensing committee voted against the proposal.

Other changes proposed by the drivers include increasing the soiling charge from £60 to £80, and for additional notes for customers to be added to the tariff sheet displayed inside vehicles. These notes would explain that out-of-borough journeys are normally negotiated with the driver in advance, rather than being metered, and that payment in advance may be asked for such journeys.

If the committee approve the changes, they will be subject to a consultation before going to cabinet for ratification.

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