Wirral taxi tariffs are set to become the highest in Merseyside with a new charge brought in for people dropped off in Liverpool.
The new tariffs are being brought in as hackney carriage drivers represented by Unite the Union said costs for insurance and tyres had dramatically increased as well as the need to earn a living as food prices increase. This was approved by a Wirral Council regulatory and general purposes committee but is subject to public consultation over 14 days.
The current day rate is £3.60 for the first 300 yards and 20p for every 207 yards. This will change to £3.60 for the same distance but 20p every 175 yards after that.
This means it will cost 40p more to travel one mile and £3.60 more to go ten miles. Rates will also increase by 7% to go one mile at night and 20% more to go ten miles.
However on bank holidays it will actually be cheaper to go five miles or more but on Christmas Day and the New Year, it will cost £9.30 and £47.70 to go one mile and ten miles respectively.
The new fares will be the highest in the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Ellesmere Port, and Neston. During the day, it costs someone £5 to go one mile in Liverpool, £4.70 in Sefton, £4.30 in St Helens, £4.80 in Knowsley, and £4.60 in Ellesmere Port and Neston.
It will cost £5.40 to go one mile on the Wirral with a new £5 charge being added to any fare dropping off in Liverpool plus the fees to return through the tunnel.
Gary Gregory, representing around 85 drivers for Unite, said: "In a perfect world, you wouldn't put the fares up," adding: "We've been hit recently with a massive increase in insurance. For some reason motor insurance has gone up 30% but public hire has gone up by 45%." He also pointed to increasing food prices.
Explaining the new Liverpool charge, he said: "If the traffic's bad, it can take an hour to get back. We can't work in Liverpool, we can't pick anybody else up so that's been factored in to pay for that lost time."
He added: "There has to be something because the fares are non-economical, they're not viable to do. You get £16 for the fare, you take £4 for the tunnel leaves you £12 and you're working for an hour and a half. That's not even minimum wage."
He said traffic congestion was an issue along the Strand, adding: "When Everton open that stadium, it's going to be a no-go area. You can't expect the taxi driver to sit for two hours waiting to get back to where you can pick up legally and not be compensated."
Councillors also removed a limit on the number of Hackney Carriage licenses and moved forward with plans to give Sue Higginson OBE who recently retired as Principle of the Wirral Met College the borough's highest honour, the Freedom of the Borough.