A HIKE in taxi fares in Halton brought on by the cost of living crisis and rising fuel costs looks set to be backed by councillors.

Halton Council’s Regulatory Committee is set to discuss calls by members of the local Hackney carriage trade to increase fares, a move which would see the cost of a two mile journey at the most basic rate rise from £5.80 to £6.38, and a 10 mile journey from £20.73 to £22.81.

Unlike a private hire vehicle, a Hackney carriage is a taxi with a meter which is licensed to collect passengers from a taxi rank and can be flagged down in the street.

Hackney cab fares are divided into three tariffs, with the different charges applied depending on the time of day, length of journey and whether it is a bank holiday. There is also a set charge automatically applied at the start of a journey. The proposed rise would see a 30p increase to the start with charges of 20p on the lowest tariffs applied for each 200 yards of travel instead of 220 yards.

The last rise occurred in 2021 after drivers called for an increase due to the financial impact of Covid. Prior to this, there had not been a rise since 2012.

At a meeting of the Taxi Consultative Group last September, some members of the trade requested a further fare increase to take account of the rising cost of living and fuel prices since 2021. In an initial consultation with drivers, there were 117 responses, 84 per cent of which were in favour of an increase and 16 per cent against.

A further consultation was then launched with an additional three proposals - all of which included increases. Out of 158 responses, the majority (59 per cent) voted in favour of the current proposals now being put forward.

Backing the plans, one driver told the survey: “I’d like to support the idea of a fare increase to reflect the current increase in fuel costs, especially relevant for cabs which are less efficient than cars.”

Speaking against, another said: “I am against the tariff increase, I think it could end up having a detrimental effect on the taxis as people are truly struggling, "Yes I do agree its hard for us too, but I think all taxi drivers should be looking at the bigger picture on trying to keep customer and not sending them away due to tariff increase.”

If the board back the rise, it will have to then be rubber-stamped by the council’s ruling executive board before going out to public consultation.

Any rise would not impact private hire cabs.

A report to the board, said: “The council has the discretion to vary the table of fares. However, it should exercise its decision-making powers in accordance with public law principles, in particular the principle of reasonableness.”