Taxi drivers claim majority do not support rise in fares

TAXI drivers who do not agree with a fare rise have hit back at calls for an increase.

A group of 13 taxi drivers met last month and voted to petition Adur Council to take into account increased costs in the last six years.

But Taxi Link, the largest taxi company based in Adur, and other licensed taxi drivers in the district have said there are many more who do not support a rise in the hackney taxi tariff, which is determined by the council.

Taxi Link manager Amanda Penny said: “It is my opinion that the reasons there were only 13 drivers at the recent hackney meeting is that the overwhelming majority of drivers do not support the application for an increase in the tariff.

“Although we recognise that taxi drivers expenses have increased, we do not feel that the general public in the Adur area can afford an increase at this moment in time.

“If the increase goes ahead, we feel that some customers will stop using taxis and instead of drivers income increasing, we think that revenue will go down.”

She said drivers felt it was better to have more work at the existing tariff than less work at an increased rate.

Sean Ridley, of Brighton Road, Lancing, has been a taxi driver for 26 years. He said his views represented a number of drivers who opposed the increase.

“This is the latest in a number of recurrent attempts by a small sect of the trade to increase the taxi fares in Adur,” he explained.

“These attempts have been repeatedly voted out by the majority of the trade since 2009, yet this same sect of the trade insists on continually revisiting this subject, which seems to reoccur with alarming and frequent regularity.

“Most of the local taxi trade in Adur are sick to the back teeth with debating and voting against it – this accounts for the poor attendance at the last meeting of the trade.”

They were responding to an article in the Herald on December 5, which quoted taxi driver Steve Martin, a Lancing parish councillor.

Although the matter had reached crisis point, he said, the trade was not asking for a wage increase. It was the question of increased costs.

Mr Ridley hit back, saying: “These attempts to increase fares are born of pure greed, as no one can argue that taxi fares could ever be described as cheap. It is true to say that fuel and running costs are significant, but not significantly any more in Adur over any other area.”