THE Commission for Taxi Regulation has decided not to increase taxi fares for the next two years after drivers reported a 30% drop in their earnings over the past two years.
Over the summer, the taxi regulator Kathleen Doyle travelled around the country holding meetings with the public and industry stakeholders on the competitiveness of the existing fare and calls for the rate to be either increased or decreased.
She received more than 300 individual submissions and multiple submissions representing around 500 industry members. More than 1,000 drivers were surveyed on their views on the fare options and operating costs and more than 1,000 consumers were also surveyed.
Ms Doyle said the decision took into account the prevailing economic conditions. “The taxi industry is now highly competitive and many operators are offering discounts on the maximum fare to customers in order to increase trade.
“Given the economic downturn and consequent reduction in demand for taxi services as well as the existence of these discounts, there was no reasonable case in favour of reducing the maximum fare. Similarly, an increase in the maximum fare could result in a further reduction in demand.”
The review found that while taxi costs have not risen since 2008, drivers’ reported income has fallen by an average of 30% during the same period.
“There is no evidence that a reduction in fares would stimulate demand and there is similarly no evidence that an increase in fares would deliver any benefits to the industry,” Ms Doyle said.
“Indeed, the evidence points to both the industry and consumers being impacted negatively by any changes to the fare at this time and in these circumstances it has been decided to leave the maximum fare unchanged.”
The current national fare is a maximum fare; structured with an initial charge when the journey begins and further charges depending on the time and distance travelled.
These charges are lower during weekdays than at night and on weekends.
There are also a number of set “extras”, such as when taxis are pre-ordered or if there is more than one passenger. The fare shown on the meter is the maximum that a driver can charge.
As of the end of August there were 25,964 active SPSV licences nationally, a drop of 800 since January. That includes 19,213 taxis, 1,484 wheelchair accessible taxis, 4,041 hackneys and 1,226 limousines.
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