Taxi fares to go up 20p per journey

OUT of pocket cabbies angry at spiralling petrol costs were celebrating today after town chiefs agreed to increase fares.

OUT of pocket cabbies angry at spiralling petrol costs were celebrating today after town chiefs agreed to increase fares.

Taxi drivers have now scrapped plans to stage a fuel protest in the town centre after Ipswich Borough Council introduced an emergency levy.

The rate per mile will remain at £1.10, but fares will go up by 20p per journey after travel bosses agreed to increase the initial charge - known as the flag - from £2.60 to £2.80.

Eric Pearl, one of the organisers of the proposed fuel protest, said drivers were pleased with the council's decision.

“The council have been reasonable in letting us pass on some of the cost of fuel price rises to our customers,” he said.

“It would have been nice to get more but we were only asking for part of the cost, not all of it. I think it would have been unfair to put it up any higher.”

Most Read

The new fees are expected to come into force on June 12.

Councillor Paul West, who led negotiations with driver representatives, said the borough was “acutely aware” of the difficulties facing the taxi industry.

But he blasted those behind the fuel protest, whom he said the council were not in discussions with, claiming it was a “totally ridiculous suggestion.”

“If drivers were to go down that route, it would damage their reputation and they would deserve any fall-out they got from it,” he said.

“In the proper discussions we have had with the designated trade representatives, at no time did they suggest a blockade protest if they didn't get their way.

“We acknowledge that fuel costs have increased considerably and we feel it's reasonable to add 20p to the price of a fare.”

The announcement comes after it was claimed an increasing number of drivers are being forced to quit and find work elsewhere because of the spiralling cost of filling up.

Fred Day, a driver with Beeline Taxis, said: “I know at least three cab drivers who last week packed it up because they couldn't afford to carry on.

“It's costing me £130 a week to fill up, compared to £90 to £100 this time last year.

“That's a huge amount of money to take out of our income.”

Do you think cab fares should be increased? Will the rise affect you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

See tomorrow's Evening Star for our weekly fuel price check.