The Taxis Act (NI) 2008 Section 16 provides the Department with the powers to set a maximum taxi fare tariff. In 2011, a comprehensive review of taxi fares identified that the cost of running a taxi comprised fuel and labour (vehicle maintenance), insurance, changes in vehicle tax rates and the cost of depot rent. This review found that the total cost of operating a taxi in Northern Ireland was £1.57 per live mile, which was broadly in line with the previous regulated fare for Belfast Public Hire vehicles.
It is Departmental policy to undertake a desktop review of the tariff every 2 years in order to determine if a fare change is required. Two desktop reviews were carried out in May 2015 and March 2017 but, given the small variation in costs, no further changes were made to the fare structure. The most recent review was carried out in 2019. The review considered a number of costs, including fuel and labour, insurance, changes in vehicle tax rates and the cost of Depot Rent. Benchmarking with other jurisdictions was also carried out. The outcome of the review showed that operating a taxi in Northern Ireland had increased from £1.57 to £1.69 per live mile, i.e. an overall increase of 7.6%.
Along with Departmental officials, the Minister, has held a number of meetings with various taxi sector representatives where a range of specific concerns were raised. One of their concerns was that the current Maximum Taxi Fare Tariff was calculated on 2011 prices, implemented in 2016 and has not changed since. The case was made to that no other sector has endured an earnings cap for ten years and in a time of rising inflation, thereby causing further economic deprivation for existing drivers and a huge disincentive for those considering joining the industry.
This targeted consultation document now seeks your views on proposals to increase the maximum taxi fare tariff across Northern Ireland by 7.6% and, in particular, the likely impact of them for you or your organisation. When reviewing taxi fares, the Department considers the impact of potential changes on both taxi users and drivers, including if fare increases will lead to fewer people using taxis and result in reduced income for drivers.
Following the closure of this targeted consultation, the results will be analysed, along with other sources of evidence, and a report provided to the Minister for her consideration.
If you require a hard copy of this Consultation document or have any other enquiries please email your request to TaxiFareReview@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk
Alternative accessible formats can also be provided.
Duration and Closing Date
The Consultation will be open for 4 weeks. The closing date is 15 October 2021.