Saturday, August 24, 2013
District licensing chiefs have rejected claims that East Devon is the most expensive place in England to leave the taxi meter running.
Every day dozens of East Devon residents, many of them elderly, use hackney carriages to go shopping or to go to vital hospital appointments.
But taxi phone app TaxiTastic says that at £28 an hour East Devon is the most expensive district in England.
The figure is higher than the £25 rate in London – and four times more than the lowest rate of just £6.
Nine of the top 10 cheapest areas are north of Birmingham.
The figures are based on data from the hackney carriage rate cards from each of the 363 borough councils across the UK.
The Journal randomly called 10 Exmouth taxi firms and found that the prices ranged between £13 and £25 – averaging at around £17 per hour.
This is comparable to the national average waiting time charge rate of £15.08 per hour.
East Devon District Council sets the rate for all hackney carriages in the district.
A spokesman said: “The tariff is set only after careful consideration by licensing officers and members of the licensing and enforcement committee, whose decision has to be advertised by public notice in the press.
“This is a maximum fare and operators can charge less, but not more, at their own discretion.
“Customers need to remember this when they read any material that suggests the prices are fixed at the upper limit. They are not.”
He said that waiting times were only a very small part of the fare and while they may not be able to reduce the fare for the travelling part of the journey, they were free to negotiate a cheaper fare.
“Customers can in many cases reduce the waiting time by ensuring that they do not waste time by keeping the taxi waiting.
“Ensuring that customers don’t keep a taxi waiting will save them money and also ensure more efficient use of the taxi, which can move on to pick up its next fare.”
David Lean of the Exmouth Taxi Association said: “Last time when the meter charges went up most taxi drivers in Exmouth didn’t bother to alter the meter because many felt the prices were too high anyway.
“There are some drivers across the district that obviously see it in their best interest that prices keep going up.
“I would say that private hire rates, in Exmouth at any rate, are very competitive.”