Hackney cab fares set to increase in Luton

Luton Hackney Carriage Association asked for the increase
Hackney cab signHackney cab sign
Hackney cab sign

Hackney carriage fares are set to rise in Luton, despite some councillors warning it could “jeopardise livelihoods”, a meeting heard.

A request for fare increases across the town was made by the Luton Hackney Carriage Association and backed by the borough council’s executive.

It follows a public consultation process “to ensure a fair, transparent and reasonable fare structure is in place for hackney carriage vehicles serving the borough of Luton”, according to a report to the committee.

The last fare increase was in 2020, said the report. “There’s been an increase in the cost of living and the impact of the pandemic on the trade since then.

“If the increase in fares is too high, public demand for the service will drop. But there’s a risk of a financial impact on the drivers and owners, if the charges are too low.

“The changes mean for distance rate one, there’s a 10.59 per cent increase in the rates, based on a three-mile journey. For distance rate two, there’s a 4.31 per cent increase in the rates.

“For distance rate three, there’s a 24.79 per cent increase in the rates, while for distance rate four there’s a 37.79 per cent increase in the rates, also based on a three-mile journey.

“For telephone bookings, there’s a 33 per cent increase. For fouling of the interior or exterior of the cab, there’s a 43 per cent increase. There’s also a new charge for removal jobs in excess of the meter.

“The new fare charges can be applied immediately by the trade,” added the report. “In reality, there’s likely to be time needed for their fare meters to be updated.”

The executive was recommended to ratify a series of proposals from the association, which could be implemented immediately.

Labour Northwell councillor Rob Roche told the executive: “Following a previous report to this committee in January, the decision was to consult on option B.

“That was a request from the Luton Hackney Carriage Association to increase its fares,” he explained.

“The consultation was conducted over 14 days in line with the legislative requirements, given the two-month deadline within which to bring the matter back to the executive.

“Two objections were received from councillors saying the rise was too high considering the cost of living and the competition with the private hire trade.

“This they suggested could jeopardise their livelihoods and price them out of the business. But they didn’t appear to appreciate this proposal was at the request of the trade, rather than the local authority.

“No comments or objections were received from the public or the taxi trade. The executive is recommended to ratify these proposed fares and for them to come into effect immediately,” added finance portfolio holder councillor Roche.

“The licensing service will produce a new fare chart and start working with the trade to update the hackney carriage meters, so increased fares can be applied.”

Two members of the committee declared an interest and left the council chamber while the item was debated. The remainder of the executive agreed the various fare increase recommendations.

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