Taxi boss calls for fares to rise by fifth in the Highlands
CUSTOMERS in the Highlands could be facing a whopping rise in taxi fares of more than 20 per cent, the Inverness Courier can reveal.
The boss of one of the city’s biggest cab companies says the rise is justified because the last increase was in 2017 and that came after a seven-year fare freeze.
Raymond Munro employs 40 drivers at Culloden-based Sneckie Taxis and says the rise is necessary to cover the ever-increasing costs of running the business.
His proposal, as part of a Highland Council consultation on fares, would see the current daytime per mile rate rise from £1.80 to £2.20.
The last increase, in April 2017, saw the saw rate rise from £1.40.
Mr Munro said rates had remained frozen for seven years before that and believes his proposal is not unreasonable.
Currently, a standard two-mile journey costs £5.80 in the Highlands compared to £5.40 in Perth and Kinross, £5.60 in Aberdeen, £6.35 in Edinburgh and £6.60 in Moray.
If approved, the new rates would be imposed from April.
Mr Munro said: “We are currently 15th in Scotland for the level of fares charged and this increase would take us to the same level as Aberdeenshire.”
A poll carried out by the Inverness Taxi Alliance (ITA) showed 94 per cent of drivers were against any increase in fares next year.
Chairman Andrew Macdonald said: “The view of the alliance is any increase is foolhardy at this stage.
“The public is deserting the taxis in droves because of the prices.”
A consultation carried out ahead of the fares increase in 2017 saw taxi drivers similarly divided, with those in Inverness calling for a rise while others in areas such as Caithness against the move.
One regular taxi passenger, Alasdair Fraser, from Inverness, said the proposed increase represented a “sharp rise”. He added: “It would certainly make me think twice about some of my journeys.”
Highland Council will make its recommendation to the next meeting of the Highland Licensing Committee on December 3 before it goes out to wider public consultation.