Taxi drivers in the capital showed their anger at media sources claiming that drivers were ‘hiking’ up the cost of taxi fares over the Christmas and New Year period.
In an attempt to address the scarcity of drivers during the festive season, an extra charge of £4 has been added to London taxi tariffs for journeys made between 8pm on 24 December and 6am on 27 December, as well as between 8pm on 31 December and 6am on 2 January.
Some media outlets have deemed this charge as a ‘hike’ angering cabbies whether that term was really justified.
Contrary to the notion of exploiting customers, the additional fee set by regulators Transport for London (TfL) has long been a part of London taxi tariffs. It is not a recent development, but rather a means to ensure a sufficient number of drivers on the road during a period when many choose to spend time with their families and friends.
The inclusion of this surcharge in the fare structure is not without reason. Historically, passengers travelling during Christmas have shown understanding toward the extra charge, recognising the sacrifice made by taxi drivers who opt to work during the year’s most anti-social working days. In fact, it is not uncommon for passengers to tip more generously during this period as a way to express appreciation for the drivers’ services.
It is important to note that London’s black cab prices are heavily regulated, setting them apart from private hire operators and ride-hailing apps that can charge fares based on demand. The regulated nature of black cab prices ensures transparency and prevents excessive surge pricing during festive periods.
While some may argue that the £4 extra charge represents an inflated fare, it is crucial to consider the unique circumstances surrounding the holiday season. The charge helps incentivise drivers to work during a time when the demand for taxis is high, and the supply of drivers may be limited.
Jason, a London taxi driver, said on social media: “We don’t and cannot ‘hike’ our prices. The meter is set by TfL, there is a fare consultation on going. Nothing is in the hands of drivers.
“As always an extra £4 per journey can be added by the driver on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
“So a totally misleading headline, an outright lie.”
Another cabbie added: “Every other industry either on double, treble pay or off on holiday! Yet a poor cabbie is crucified for being allowed to add 4 quid to each job! Which is completely regulated by Transport for London and it’s the same every year on just those 3 days!”