Borderers are asked to give their views on future taxi fares

The taxi rank at Channel St, Galashiels
The taxi rank at Channel St, Galashiels

Borderers are being urged to have their say on taxi fares as part of a public consultation on the issue.

As the licensing authority, Scottish Borders Council is required to set scales for fares and other charges and review them every 18 months.

After considering feedback by taxi operators, councillors on the executive committee agreed last month that no increase in the fares should be introduced.

Of the seven operators who responded directly to the consultations, three were in favour of the proposal that taxi fares remain unchanged for 2017/8 and four were not in favour– and o ne of the four who were not in favour held signed mandates to represent the views of 22 taxi operators.

He has submitted a proposal which had asked for a fare increase of 5% – which he said would cover “various cost surges to the trade over the last 18 months” and “our understanding of probable increase in costs over the next fare review period”.

With the 5% rise, for instance a journey carrying 1-4 passengers over six miles would rise from £12,66 to £13.29. The same journey in unsocial hours would rise from £15.82 to £16.61.

The operator added: “We understand that the taxi trade is an essential part of the Scottish Borders Transport Framework and should be accessible by all.

“We believe it is imperative that our services stay available to all able bodies and disabled in the community and continue to provide a door-to-door service for those disabled members of the community who are not able to use other forms of public transport.

“We are aware that an increase of fares may impact negatively on certain groups ... we, as a co-operative, would be willing to discuss with any working groups, community transport organisations and the local authority to facilitate a common approach to alleviate any increases that may affect those who experience a negative effect.”

THe operator gave the example of the Taxicard, used by East Lothian, West Lothian and City of Edinburgh councils.

The proposed fare scales are available to view and comment on at www.scotborders.gov.uk/taxifaresreview until November 24. Representation can also be made in writing to Mr B Frater, Service Director Regulatory Services, Scottish Borders Council, Newtown St Boswells, Melrose, TD6 0SA.

The council will consider all consultation responses before the new fares are set.

Councillor Gordon Edgar, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, said: “Taxis play an important role in Borders society and it is right that members of the public can have their say on the proposed new fares.

“I would encourage them to visit the council website to submit their opinions before the November 24 deadline.”