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Fees for passengers who vomit in taxis set to rise

Passengers who throw up in the back of a cab could get charged more than double – as well as face a hike in taxi fares.

The so-called soiling fee will be increased from 40 to 100 in South Ribble if the council gives the go-ahead.

Cabbies in the South Ribble Council area have asked the authority to consider putting up the fares for the first time since September 2006.

Drivers say that the rising cost of fuel and insurance premiums – as well as an increase in the number of inebriated passengers – means it is costing more to stay on the road.

Now anyone who forces a taxi off the road by soiling it through their drunkenness could be hit with the 100 charge.

Currently, getting into one of the council's 170 black cabs costs 1.80 for the first quarter of a mile and 20p for every subsequent eighth of a mile, or 220 yards.

But under the proposals put forward by the council, the initial "flag drop" will rise to 2.10 and this will cover the first eighth of a mile. Each additional 220 yards will still cost 20p.

Thirteen taxi drivers approached South Ribble's licensing committee asking for the fares to be reviewed. Letters will now be sent out to drivers informing them of the proposals and asking for their views.

In Preston, passengers are charged 2 for the first half mile and 10p for every 117 yards afterwards.

From 11pm to 7am and all day Sundays, the first half mile is charged at 2.70, with 20p for each subsequent 176 yards.

Vomiting customers are currently charged 30.

The price increases planned for South Ribble will not affect private hire vehicles.

Coun Phil Smith, chairman of the licensing committee, said: "It's been almost two years since we last considered hackney fares and we understand that during this time the costs of fuel and insurance premiums have risen substantially.

"The council also has a strict age limit policy on all council vehicles to ensure that hackney vehicles are safe. This means an additional cost to the driver."

"The council has a responsibility to ensure that any fare increase would protect drivers' earnings while ensuring that taxis in South Ribble continue to represent good value for money."

Members of the public now have 14 days to make written representations to the council.

>> Two-mile taxi trip trebled in price

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