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Denbighshire North Wales Politics

5% taxi fare increase will go out to public consultation in Denbighshire

MEMBERS of the public will be able to have their say on whether taxi fares should rise by 5% in Denbighshire.

An unnamed taxi firm wrote to Denbighshire Council, requesting a 10% increase to all tariffs and extras.

The company gave a wide range of reasons for the rise they said was needed, including the new 20mph speed limit, inflation, rising fuel costs, electric bills and card payment charges.

But licensing officers recommended a rise of 5% instead after some councillors opposed the increase during a meeting of the licensing committee on Wednesday.

The matter will now go out to public consultation. During the meeting, Cllr Brian Jones said he feared for the elderly trying to afford the increased fares.

“I think of all the elderly people who use taxis, and you’ll isolate them straight away. Apparently, it happened in Conwy. I really feel bad about that,” he said.

“I wouldn’t support any increase on taxi fares at this point in time.

“What I’ve heard here this morning is that we are paying a consultant.

“We are supposedly in a black hole financially, and we are spending money on consultants to look at things.”

He went on to say that as local members, councillors weren’t knowledgeable enough about the industry to decide on an increase.

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Cllr Joan Butterfield added: “I feel reluctant to say this, but I do agree with (Cllr) Brian in some ways.

“I feel uncomfortable at this particular time we are looking to increase taxi fares.”

Cllr Butterfield then added she could also understand why an increase was needed before voting for a 5% rise.

But confusion disrupted the meeting when there were questions over whether Cllr Brian Jones’ amendment not to increase taxi fares should stand – with Cllr Gwyneth Ellis doubting officers’ advice that it should.

To make matters worse, councillors and officers lost track of which committee members had voted and for what, initially missing a vote by Cllr Joan Butterfield against leaving fares as they were.

With the vote at a 4-4 deadlock – over whether to increase taxi fares and by how much – chairwoman Cllr Bobby Feeley was then given the deciding vote to conclude the matter, and it was agreed officers should be instructed to go out to a public consultation on a proposed 5% rise.

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