22 May 2017
The Minister for Infrastructure and his officers have met with representatives of the taxi-cab industry over the last three years or so to try to work with drivers and cab companies to bring about much needed change and modernisation.
The latest talks have been about tariff changes.
The Minister has focussed on the following areas of taxi regulation improvement for customers:
- making fares and taxi-cabs easy to understand
- equality for disabled passengers
- making taxi-cabs easier to identify
- making taxi-cabs more available
- raising Standards
Much progress has been made with the introduction of standards for wheelchair accessible vehicles and accessibility standards for other vehicles (including equipment to be carried), as well as the introduction of training programmes that include disability awareness and customer service training.
The differing roles of rank and private hire Public Service Vehicles (PSV) have also been clearly set down using nationally accepted terminology, ‘Taxis’ and ‘Cabs’.
The latest changes are focussed around simplifying charges with a single tariff system for both rank taxis and private hire cabs.
The new charging system will come into force on Saturday 1 July 2017. There has been no increase in fares since March 2014, so the changes incorporate a 4.6% rise for the increase in the Retail Price Index (taxi) in the intervening period.
Currently passengers could be charged extra for things like baggage and for more than one person using the taxi. These ‘extras’ have been incorporated into an additional flat fee of 20p per journey.
Companies offering pre-booked journeys may charge an additional declared fixed percentage or fixed fee above the new taxi-cab tariff. But, to make it easier for customers to shop around for the best deal, these fares will be published by Driver and Vehicle Standards for public comparison on a cost per mile basis.
The new proposed taxi-cab fare structure which sets the maximum charge to be levied from Saturday 1 July 2017 will comprise three tariffs instead of up to eight that are currently in existence. These being:
- Tariff 1 – any day of the week after 7am and before 11pm
- will be charged at £3 plus 21p for every 10th of a mile
- Tariff 2 – any day of the week after 11pm and before 7am and all day on Sunday & Public Holidays except for times specified in Tariff 3 below
- will be charged at £3.10 plus 31p for every 10th of a mile
- Tariff 3 - starting after 7pm on Christmas Eve and before 7am the morning after Boxing Day and after 7pm on New Year’s Eve and before 7am the morning after New Year’s Day
- will be charged at £5.40 plus 34p for every 10th of a mile
A reduced charge will be made for waiting time when stuck in stationery traffic. Also drivers will be able to levy a soiling charge if their vehicle has to come off the road temporarily to be cleaned as a result of passenger actions.
These tariffs will apply to all taxi-cabs whether private hire cabs or taxis. However, where a journey is pre-booked, an additional charge above the taxi-cab tariff may be charged by the entity that is responsible for dispatching the journey (eg cab company).
This may be a fixed amount or a percentage above the prescribed taxi-cab tariff but it will have to be declared to the customer in advance of them accepting the booking or included in the dispatching entity’s tariffs.
Deputy Eddie Noel, Minister for Infrastructure said, “In formulating this new fare structure and price increase, I have tried to bring about improvement for customers, while being fair and reasonable to the industry. There needed to be more clarity. Customers should know what the charges are and how they are calculated. That is basic customer service. I would also like to stress that we are setting the maximum charge, taxis or cab companies are free to charge less.”