Wiltshire Council is consulting with taxi drivers across the county on a possible 10% fare increase to help weather the dramatic rise in fuel prices.
The decision was taken following fears that the tariffs would not match the recent rise in fuel prices, which saw them jump to 199.9 pence a liter for diesel.
Melksham taxi driver Paul Carter of Paul’s Taxi complained to council that some taxi operators are passing on fuel surcharges to their customers due to rising fuel costs.
Mr Carter, 51, said: ‘Clients of mine have recently started asking me, unsolicited, why am I not passing on the fuel surcharge that another local business is charging?
“There is no markup. We are not allowed to charge more than what is shown on the meter. Other companies have confirmed the same from their customers when using another company.
‘I was told Taxi Licensing had spoken to the company following my complaint, who denied the charge, yet a customer told me this morning that the owner was charging a pound more than the fare I was getting. had charged (the meter). They didn’t check the meter but paid as instructed.
“There is now pressure from the taxi industry for higher fares when this behavior occurs. I’m against this hike because all the cost-cutting measures have barely been touched on, let alone fully explored.
Councilor Dr Mark McClelland, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: ‘We have been in communication with Mr Carter about the concerns he has raised.
“Wiltshire Council takes allegations of overcharging very seriously and will investigate all complaints. If it is proven that a taxi driver knowingly overcharged, we will take enforcement action.
“We are aware of this report and have opened an investigation, the outcome of which depends on the evidence provided.”
“We issue a regular newsletter to all taxi drivers in Wiltshire and will make it clear that additional charges such as clean air zone and fuel surcharges cannot be charged.
“We are consulting with Wiltshire licensing carriage drivers on whether to increase Tariff 1 by 10% (other fares would remain as is).
“This consultation closes on July 13, and once completed, comments and findings will be forwarded to the Licensing Committee, who will make a decision.”