Taxi fares may be set to rise again as fuel and inflation bite
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Mr. O'Dowd said the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) is in the process of undertaking a 2022 review of the current maximum taxi fare with a view to potentially implementing an increase.
A desktop review was completed in March 2022 and concluded that the cost per live mile has increased since the last review carried out in 2019 and implemented in November 2021.
Last year the former minister Nichola Mallon announced a 7.6% increase in the maximum fare as part of a support package for the industry,
Now, according to the Department, the 'cost per live mile, based on the existing model and with updated inputs (March 2022), is estimated to be £1.90, which represents a 12.6% rise since the 2019 review (£1.69)'.
The three biggest contributors to this increase were: "Driver labour costs (+2.1% since the implementation of the 2019 review in 2021); Fuel costs (+4.7% since the implementation of the 2019 review in 2021); Depot rent and associated fees (+27.2% since the implementation of the 2019 review in 2021)."
DfI stated that this suggests that there have been 'increasing pressures on the taxi industry across both the fixed cost and running cost categories'.
The Department is inviting the public, the taxi industry, both operators and drivers, plus relevant stakeholders, including the Consumer Council, to provide their views on proposals to potentially increase the maximum taxi fare tariff across the North.
Mr. O'Dowd said: “I am very aware of the difficult environment the taxi industry are operating in post the pandemic, with unprecedented fuel costs and high inflation hitting driver labour and operating costs.
“I want to support the industry where I can through their current trading difficulties but I am also mindful that the citizens of the North are in a cost of living crisis. Many are struggling to meet day to day costs and so they may not be in a position to incur any increase to taxi fares. It will be important to balance the needs of workers and the wider public.
“I encourage anyone who has a vested interest to contribute to this consultation process. Once the responses have been analysed my officials will provide a report for my consideration and I will communicate my decision as soon as possible.”
The consultation documents are available at: Citizen Space: https://consultations2.nidirect.gov.uk/dfi-1/maximum-taxi-fare-review-consultationOr alternatively at: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/consultations/taxi-fare-increase-public-consultation-2022