Taxi fares in London are to increase by just 0.7% this year, well below the inflation rate and the lowest rate of increase for over ten years, local government body Transport for London (TfL) revealed on Friday.
TfL was set up to implement the transport strategy and to manage transport services across London. Its board approved the increase for the coming financial year (2014/15), effective Saturday 5 April 2014, following a consultation with the city’s taxi companies. London TravelWatch, London Boroughs, London Assembly and London MPs also took part in the consultation.
The fare increase equates to just GBP0.09 on an average fare and is the lowest since Transport for London’s Taxi and Private Hire took over responsibility for licensing and regulating London’s taxi and private hire services in 2000.
According to TfL, the approval of the new fares is intended to create a balance between maintaining income levels for the city’s taxi drivers, while ensuring passengers still receive high quality service for a fair price.
All London taxis will still carry assistance dogs at no extra charge and there will continue to be no extra charges for additional passengers or luggage. An extension of a special provision linked to diesel prices has also been approved by the TfL board for the coming year. A special provision has been in place since July 2008, whereby taxi fares could be increased if there is a drastic rise in diesel costs. The board agreed that a GBP0.40 increase to all taxi fares could be implemented if diesel reaches GBP175.48 per litre.
Taxi journeys booked by telephone can be subject to a GBP2.00 maximum surcharge and order to ensure consistency for passengers and stops any excessive charges for taxi booking services; the board has extended this surcharge to cover taxi journeys booked using mobile phones, smart phones, mobile applications and online services. Also, the GBP4.00 Christmas extra charge, which is currently added manually by the driver, will automatically be added to fares over the festive period from December 2016.
Licensed taxis are not currently required to accept card payments and because TfL research has shown that a majority of passengers feel that they should be able to pay for any a taxi journey by debit or credit card, a review of card acceptance in taxis has also been endorsed by the board. The board has also agreed that the existing card payment surcharge will be reduced from the current 12.5% to 10% or GBP1.00, whichever is greater.
In addition, TfL’s board agreed to consider the date when taxi fares and tariffs are reviewed and may possibly align changes with those made on London’s bus, rail and Tube network from January each year, instead of April.