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BLACK cab taxi fares must increase to meet rising costs, drivers have told the city council.

A drivers’ group is seeking rises of about two per cent in line with inflation from March 25 and has won the support of a leading councillor.

The City of Oxford Licensed Taxicab Association (COLTA) has urged Oxford City Council to increase tariffs.

This would only affect black cab journeys in the city, as these are regulated by the city council. Fares last went up in 10 months ago.

In a report to the council, COLTA said drivers are being “pushed to the limits” by tough trading conditions and cost of fuel.

It adds: “Compare bus fare prices and car parking increases in Oxford and it soon becomes apparent how high the prices are in comparison to taxi fare increases.

“The past 17 months has been a tough period in terms of economic prosperity and this has impacted on COLTA members and other individuals who operate through the attainment of a specific licence to perform their duties on the road via Oxford City Council.”

In its budget for the next financial year, the city council is proposing to put up parking fees by as much as nine per cent.

COLTA’s plans would see journeys from 6am to 10pm Monday to Saturday go up by an average of 1.95 per cent.

For example, a five-mile journey would increase from £10.60 to £10.90.

The rest of the time fares would go up 1.81 per cent and about 2.09 per cent over Christmas and New Year.

Senior licensing officer Jill Cramer said a 2012 study found the city had the joint 39th most expensive daytime licensed cab fares.

The council’s general purposes licensing committee is considering the proposal today at 5.30pm at Oxford Town Hall, St Aldate’s.

Chairman Colin Cook said: “It will be interesting to see what the rest of the committee think, but it looks to be in line with inflation so it is relatively small.

“I personally don’t think it will be that controversial and I am open to the prospect of it.”

A report to the councillors also recommends not increasing the annual licence fees paid by drivers.

If the council supports a fare increase, proposals will have to go to a public consultation.