Wednesday, 12 February 2020 14:29

Wiltshire taxi drivers fury at bid to lower fares Featured

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ANGRY taxi drivers in north Wiltshire are threatening to stop working on a Sunday if new fares are introduced.

They say it won’t be worth their while working at the new tariff fares proposed by Wiltshire Council.

Currently, drivers can charge a higher rage of £7.20 a mile all day on Sunday, higher than the £5.20 Monday to Saturday day rate.

But the proposed new tariffs mean that would be cut to £5.50 a mile.

There are further changes proposed affecting fares in the early hours.

The current second tariff tier (£7.20 a mile), which runs from 10.30pm to 2.29am, would start at 10pm and be extended to 5.59am and the previous third tier (£8.50 a mile) removed.

Under the new proposals, it will start earlier at 10pm instead of 10.30pm and last until 5.59am at a flat rate of £7.50 per mile.

Vivienne Pepler, the representative for more than 330 north Wiltshire taxi drivers, said: “The changes mean they want us to work all through the week at tariff one, which is a much lower fare rate.

“Our taxi drivers in north Wiltshire say they will refuse to work all day Sunday if they don’t get tariff two. They are not willing to work for nothing.”

Mrs Pepler, 56, from Chippenham, says the time change means taxi drivers will be working 30 minutes longer and into the early hours of the morning for what amounts to a fare reduction.

“They have taken away the tariff two and our higher rates for working after 8pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

“Our taxi drivers say they will lose money working on a Sunday. They are telling me they won’t work on a Sunday because it’s not worth it.”

The current taxi fare rates have been in use since 2015 and now Wiltshire Council has opened a public consultation on its proposed changes.

Cllr Bridget Wayman, the cabinet member for transport, said: “We have been holding discussions with stakeholders in both the taxi industry and the night-time economy for the past two years, and have taken their feedback into account when creating these new proposals.

“We recognise that there are differing needs – and opinions – on tariffs in the North, South, East and West of the county.

“As such, the proposed new tariffs represent a compromise on the feedback we have had from taxi operators and businesses in these areas.

“We hope these proposals will bring a number of benefits, as they will ensure taxi charges are comparable to our nearest neighbouring authorities.

“They will encourage more people to enjoy the county’s night-time economy and they will reduce the number of people walking home late at night, which will make nights out even safer for residents and visitors to Wiltshire.”

To give your views before the public consultation expires next Thursday, February 20, go to the council's website and search for taxi fares.

Read this article on the Gazette and Herald here...

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