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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 April 2007, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
London cabbies defend fares hike
London cabs
Taxi drivers say they face increasing costs
London cabbies have defended a 3% rise in taxi fares saying they are needed to cover increased operating costs.

They said the hike, which comes into effect on 14 April, will help to cover rising fuel and maintenance costs.

"We are confident we won't lose a single customer with this small increase," said Bill Oddy of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association.

However, watchdog London Travelwatch has called for evening tariffs to be scrapped in favour of a flat rate.

'Too high'

A 15-minute, four-mile journey will cost 11 during the day, rising to 15 after 10pm.

Evening and late night fares were increased in 2001 to encourage more drivers to work at these times to improve safer travel.

Mr Oddy said the annual increase was fair and London cabs were still "very good value for money".

"If we were expensive, people would not be using taxis," he said.

Brian Cooke, of London Travelwatch, said the below-inflation rise was reasonable.

But he said the evening tariffs needed to be reviewed, saying they were "too high a supplement".

He said: "You don't pay more for a coffee or tea in the evening. We think taxi fares should be equal throughout the day."


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