Image credit: GMB London
St Albans City and District Council met with private drivers and members of the GMB union to successfully discuss raising taxi fares earlier this month.
In October, drivers requested an overhaul of fares in addition to providing information on airport drop-offs so that these costs are clearer to the public.
The GMB noted that high inflationary running costs for drivers and employers were impacting the ability to cover these costs and earn a living. A fare increase was the only way to support drivers who might otherwise question their continued provision of this service to the community and tourists, GMB says.
Drivers and GMB representatives have offered to raise fares to £11.44 for a two-mile journey, which would have been one of the highest fares in the country.
St Albans raised concerns that the proposed fare could reduce taxi use in the town, Harpenden and Redbourn, so instead agreed its own fare of a two-mile fare costing £9.08 .
Steve Garelick, London Area GMB Organiser, said: “Part of what got us to this point in the first place is that rates have to go up based on cost of living and fuel costs. Licensing costs and the cost of a disclosure service audit and (DBS) all went up. When you start factoring in those costs, drivers had to start making decisions about how to put food on their tables.
“We need to reach a standard beyond drivers who just keep their heads above water.”
Steve added: ‘I would love to hear from other private hire GMB members and taxi drivers in the area who think the rate they work with should be reviewed. We cannot have a situation where the job pays a driver less than minimum wage, which is a possibility given the costs of operating these workers.