TAXI fares could be set to rise across Wearside as councillors vote on proposed new hackney carriage rates.
Sunderland Hackney Carriage Operators’ Association (SHCOA) has applied to the city council to restructure the price of journeys at all three tariffs in operation, in one case a 6.9 per cent hike.
The move comes 12 months after the authority’s regulatory committee last agreed to a fare increase.
If councillors vote to allow the further rise – at a meeting at the Civic Centre today – a period of 14 days must be allowed for objections to be heard.
If none is received, the new fares will immediately come into effect.
Trevor Hines, chairman of SHCOA, told the Echo the price increases are regrettable but inevitable.
“It sounds a bit old hat, but it’s an application that has been considered carefully,” he said.
“Costs are increasing for everybody, and our costs are obviously too, but one of the main factors is the huge increase in the cost of insurance.
“It has escalated in the last few years because of the claims culture, and we have seen instances where premiums have gone up between 100 and 200 per cent.”
SHCOA has requested a new price structure which will see fares in tariff one, which covers Monday to Saturday between 7am and 11am, go up by an average of 4.7 per cent.
For tariff two, on Sundays and weekdays from 11pm until 7am, the average cost of a journey will rise by 4.10 per cent.
In tariff three, which applies across public and bank holidays, trips will cost, on average, 3.7 per cent more.
The biggest increase will be for journeys of 2.5 miles in tariff one, which will go up by 6.9 per cent. Mr Hines said: “For some shorter journeys there is no change at all.
“It is impossible to get the same increase across every fare.
“This may not end up as wage increases for drivers, and I must stress it’s very reluctant, but to maintain our high standards of service we have to have this small increase.
“For many visitors to the city, your first point of contact is often a taxi, and if it’s a good quality taxi with a good driver, it leaves a good impression of the city.”