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Sudbury taxi firm fears Babergh District Council's planned changes to cab fare rates will create more confusion

Changes to Hackney carriage fares in Babergh aimed at simplifying tariffs will create more confusion for both cabbies and customers, a Sudbury-based cab company has warned.

A consultation held over the spring sparked a series of concerns from cab companies, which claimed the revised tariffs would actually reduce the income per journey, rather than create the intended improvement for them in light of increased costs for cab firms.

Following the feedback from cab companies, amended rates have been agreed by Babergh District Council’s licensing committee, with a new day rate of £3.20 for the first 588 yards, increasing by 10p for every 98 yards thereafter.

Taxi, the signage is a distinguished feature of the so-called Hackney Carriage.. (37483250)
Taxi, the signage is a distinguished feature of the so-called Hackney Carriage.. (37483250)

The night rate will be £4.60 for the first 544 yards and a 20p increase for every subsequent 136 yards, while a special Christmas and new year rate will see £6.20 charged for the first 416 yards, with a 20p charge every 104 yards thereafter.

But inconsistencies in the new rates have left cab companies unclear on what the new pay structure will be.

Stuart Armstrong, from AAA Cabs Ltd in Sudbury, said: “To my mind, it was simple how it was.

“It was a 50 per cent increase for tariff two (night rates) and 100 per cent on tariff three (Christmas and new year).

“This has created more confusion than there has already been. There was also nothing put forward about larger vehicles.”

The new fares are set to be introduced from July 27, provided the changes get the backing of the council’s cabinet next month.

Sue Carpendale, from the licensing committee, said: “We really want to try to simplify the fares and tariffs, and be as transparent as we can be for both the customer and the operator.

“What we are concerned about is that we ensure that drivers and operators don’t lose out, and that they do have an improvement in their income levels from 2016.”

Hackney carriages are cabs that can be hailed from the roadside or wait in taxi ranks. Private hire taxis are unaffected.

The new tariffs, if approved by Babergh’s cabinet, will apply to operators with licenses issued by the authority, including in key towns such as Sudbury, Hadleigh, Great Cornard and Lavenham.

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