Over 200 people are objecting controversial plans made by Cheshire East Council to raise taxi fares in Congleton by 45%. The council explains they want to see their taxi fares brought in line with neighbouring areas Crewe and Nantwich.
At present, a one mile trip in Congleton costs £2.90, then £2 for every mile after that. If Cheshire East council see their plans through then customers will be expected to pay £4.20 for travelling one mile followed by £2 thereafter. In addition, Bank Holiday fares would increase from £4.35 per mile to £5.90, but subsequent miles will fall from £3 to £2.60.
Of the 200+ residents complaining, many are taxi drivers who fear an increased risk of taxi companies going out of business. 43 year old Darren Carter set up his own taxi firm almost 3 months ago and he fears his business will be negatively affected. “Everybody wants more money, but we also want more customers. If the fares are increased, taxi companies throughout the town are going to lose customers. People will start making fewer trips to the shops because they can’t afford the fares and to a lot of customers, taxis are necessities”.
There has already been a 10% fare increase in June 2011 and many drivers feel that another large increase in such a short space of time could be the end for them. Darren later adds, “It will devastate not only my business, but the town too because people wont shop as often and will spend less when they do”.
Cheshire East Council will meet on the 19th March to discuss these possible changes. A spokesman for the local authority said, “Two petitions totalling 201 signatures have been received, and it is evident that although there is an agreement within the objections that harmonisation is a positive step, merging the zones to the Crewe and Nantwich tariff may not be an equitable way to obtain this result”.
The announcement of the verdict will be a nerve wracking time for many taxi firms considering they will have invested so much into their business, including reliable taxi insurance.