THE cost of catching a taxi in Craven is set to rise for the first time in a decade.

Craven District Council’s licensing committee has approved a 33 per cent rise on fares after the last increase was introduced in 2012.

The rise will come into force from May 25 and means the cost of a two mile trip will go up from £5.30 to around £7.

It follows warnings from taxi drivers who said they have been “on their knees” during the Covid pandemic and struggled to earn more than the minimum wage due to high fuel and parts costs.

But one driver told a council meeting that fares shouldn’t go up by too much in order to keep customers interested.

He said: “I think a 50 per cent price rise is maybe a little bit too much.

“We don’t want to be in a position where we are losing trade. A price rise of a third on the original tariff would be more realistic and help us to retain some of the customers we already have.”

Councillor Simon Myers, chairman of the licensing committee and deputy leader of the council, also said: “A 50 per cent rise I think would make you the most expensive taxi drivers in North Yorkshire, which may not be the publicity you want.”

Skipton South councillor Robert Heseltine told Thursday’s meeting: “This is a significant fare increase, but the consultation comes across to me as though the public are just apathetic about it.

“Yet as soon as they get in a cab and realise how much more they are being charged there will be an outcry.”

The consultation was held in March and advertised in the media and on the council’s website and social media channels. All licensed taxi drivers were also contacted directly, the council said.

The 33 per cent rise will also apply to soiling charges, waiting times and call out charges for taxi journeys.

Councillor Myers said the licensing committee would be happy to look at a further fare increase later this year if fuel and parts costs means the 33 per cent rise is “eroded” for the taxi trade.

He told drivers at the meeting: “If you feel that you are suffering, come back to the licensing committee because we want to help the taxi service in Craven.

“We don’t expect you to do it for nothing.”