The Taxis Act (NI) 2008 Section 16 provides the Department with the powers to set a maximum taxi tariff. A public consultation sought the views of the public, taxi drivers and operators and other stakeholders. A synopsis of the consultation responses is now available.
Officials within the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) are in the process of undertaking a 2022 review of the current maximum taxi fare with a view to potentially implementing an increase. The review has considered a number of costs, including fuel and labour, insurance, vehicle tax and the cost of depot rent. Benchmarking with other jurisdictions has also been carried out.
Given the difficult environment the taxi industry are currently operating in the DfI Minister wants to support the industry where he can. The impact of the Ukraine war with unprecedented fuel costs and high inflation hitting driver labour and operating costs, plus the decreasing number of drivers, are all having a heavy impact on the industry.
In considering an increase to the maximum fare the Minister wants to support drivers and operators in their ability to earn a fair income and an increase may go some way to encouraging new drivers into the taxi industry. However there needs to be balance against the needs of taxi customers, including vulnerable passengers. The Minister is mindful that the citizens of the North are in a cost of living crisis and many are struggling to meet day to day costs and so they are not in a position to incur increased taxi fares.
The Department believes this is an important economic and societal issue and would encourage all those with a vested interest to contribute to this consultation process. Once the responses to the consultation have been analysed, officials will provide a report to the Minister for consideration.