Most taxi companies charge extra if their fare includes a large amount of passengers due to the fact that the company has to provide and run bigger vehicles, which cost more in tax and taxi insurance costs. However, the local council in Bracknell is now considering disallowing taxi drivers from applying the surcharge which can be around fifty per cent more than the minimal cost for a regular taxi.
On Monday, the council’s licencing and appeals committee voted to consult the public as to whether the surcharge should be cut for taxis carrying more than four passengers, and instead only alow a maximum extra charge of just 50p per person. However taxi drivers are concerned over the new plans with many of those working in the Bracknell area saying that they believe drivers will stop taking groups of more than four passengers if the plans go through due to the fact that they will lose out on money.
Chairman of the committee, Councillor Patman, said: “We want to hear from the public to see if they are happy to pay a 50 per cent surcharge.” The committee also contacted the borough’s 101 Hackney Carriage in order to get their opinion on the plans, yet only just over a third of the drivers responded, 15 of which called for no change and 19 for the saloon cars to be reintroduced. Discussing the plans, taxi driver Imran Hussain said: “If they do away with these tariffs there would be no financial incentive to own or run a large vehicle.”
“It’s good that it’s gone to public consultation because there’s some transparency but how many members of the public really understand the tariff structure? If you compare our price structure to others, our customers have a good deal.” Mr Hussain went on to estimate that due to road tax, taxi insurance and other costs, taxi drivers or private hire companies have to pay an extra three to four thousand pounds for larger vehicles.