Taxi fares in Eastbourne could be set to rise if proposals gain the backing of borough councillors next week.
Next Monday (March 11), Eastbourne Borough Council’s licensing committee is to consider proposals to increase the maximum amount Hackney Carriages can charge in fares.
In a report to the committee, a council spokesman said: “The current fares set have been in place for ten years and the trade has requested a review of the current fare structure.
“There are currently 114 licensed Hackney Carriages that are allowed to ply for hire in Eastbourne. Fares charged by Hackney Carriages cannot be more than the fare set by Eastbourne Borough Council.
“Following informal requests made by some Hackney Carriage proprietors all Hackney Carriage proprietors were written to on February 1 2018 and asked to contact the licensing team to advise if they were in favour of a fare increase.
“It was made clear that should more than 50 per cent of the trade feel an increase is appropriate then a report would be presented to [the committee].
“The licensing team received 86 positive responses for an increase, which is a 76 per cent return.”
Taxi fares are set according to a rate card, which calculates the how much a journey will cost depending on how long the journey is and when it began.
For example, Eastbourne taxis can currently begin a journey between 6am and 11pm with a maximum of £2.60 on the meter, charging a maximum of £1.60 per mile for the first five miles and £2 for each mile afterwards.
If the increased fares are approved, taxis would be able to begin the same journey with £2.90 on the meter, charge a maximum of £2 per mile for the first five miles and £2.20 for each mile afterwards.
Other factors, such as time waiting and the number of people in the taxi, also add to the cost. Bank Holidays, Christmas and New Year are also charged at a different rate.
This rate card only applies to licensed Hackney Carriages, with pre-arranged private hires set without the council’s involvement.
Due to the complexity of this system, the average rate is usually presented as a two-mile fare when comparing it to other areas,
In Eastbourne this average fare currently comes to £5.70, which council officers say is the lowest fare charged within East Sussex.
If the increased charges are approved, the average two-mile fare in Eastbourne will cost £6.90 – the same average fare as set by Wealden District Council.
If given the backing of the licensing committee, the proposals will be decided by the council’s cabinet at a later date.