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Taxi price hike plans help out hard-up drivers

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 13, 2014

New Taxi Union set up by Drivers of East Staffordshire..FRONT - BACK L-R: Mohammed Ikhlaq, Byron Hurd,..Charles Watson, Malcolm Lees, Saghir Ratyal, Clive.Brown, Ishtiaq Kazmi, Arshad Afsar

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TAXI chiefs have defended a potential raft of price hikes saying that they need to make the move to ‘help keep their heads above water’,

Mohammed Ikhlaq, chairman of the East Staffordshire Private Hire and Taxi Association, spoke out after details were revealed behind several increases that are set to be put in place in a move he said that the industry needs to survive.

The changes could include a 10p charge for every 15 seconds of waiting time, 50p for every piece of luggage past the first piece, 10p for every shopping bag after the first five and a £70 fee for anyone who is sick in a taxi.

Mr Ikhlaq told the Mail: “I know that many people will see this as a negative because some of the prices are going up but it is something we have to do to make sure that we keep our heads above water.

“Most taxi drivers in the town are not even making minimum wage and this is something that cannot go on.

“In terms of the charge for when people are sick in our cabs, yes this is rising from £45 to £70 but this covers not just the cleaning, but also the time that the taxi is off the road while this takes place.

“We don’t want to have to raise our charges but with added costs such as rising fuel and insurance prices, it is something we have had to do.

“We have a right to earn a living, a decent living and this is what we have to do to make sure that we can do that.

“People will not like it but, from our point of view, it is something we could not have done.”

There could also be a £1 charge for any taxi hire between 6pm and 5am. Wheelchair and pushchair access would still be free but it could cost £3 to transport a dog, cat or any kind of pet.

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