Cost of Borders taxis frozen for another year

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Taxi fares in the Borders have been frozen for another year despite a request by taxi operators to increase charges by 5%.

Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee has unanimously agreed to keep taxi rates unchanged despite operators asking to increase standard daytime charges from approximately £4 to £4.20 after the first mile of a journey.

Consultations were carried out during August, with five operators in attendance and two responding by email.

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One of those operators had signed mandates representing the views of 22 taxi operators wanting changes to their current prices.

That operator called for an initial hire rate of £2.40 for between one and four passengers during social hours, with a 10p mileage rate, or 15p for larger vehicles, kicking in after 95 yards rather than the current 100 yards.

It was also hoped that for larger vehicles, an initial hire rate of £3.60 would be introduced.

The operators’ call for an increase in fares for the first time since April 2015 was attributed to the rising costs of fuel and insurance and improved minimum hourly wages.

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However, Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer said: “Members of the council’s executive committee agreed with officer recommendations to leave current taxi fares across the Borders unaltered until the next statutory review in about 18 months’ time.

“The council uses a recognised funding formula to determine taxi fares and that has, I understand, resulted in consistent increases since 2010.

“Councillors did question the comparison of charges with other council areas and have asked for information to be provided ahead of future fares review.”

Hawick and Hermitage councillor George Turnbull added: “There was a healthy discussion on this very important issue, and I am satisfied with the outcome.

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“As always, the taxi operators have the right of appeal should they wish to pursue this issue.”

The formula used to review the charges for taxi fares, established by the council in 2009, showed a total variation of -0.45% on indicators including the price of petrol and cost of vehicle tax over the last year.