/ Travel & Leisure

Are 15% higher cab fares during the Olympics fair?

London cabbies have demanded that they should be allowed to increase their fares by around 15% during the Olympics. Blimey. As if it wasn’t going to be expensive enough already to attend the Games.

And even if you’re not going (how many of us were actually lucky enough to get tickets?), if you happen to be in London, you’ll still be hit by higher fares.

So, let’s reverse a little bit. The request comes from the License Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA), the biggest group to represent London’s black-cab drivers. It’s pressuring Transport for London (TfL) and good old Boris Johnson to let cabbies put their prices up during the full month during the Olympics and Paralympics.

The LTDA wants the premium evening tariff to be brought forward to the daytime, which would result in a 15% fare increase. And, on top of that, there’s the proposed annual increase of 5.2%. That’s a good 20% more to get you from the station to the Olympic grounds.

This fare increase would result in a six-mile daytime ride from Wembley Stadium to Burnt Oak would cost £5.26 more, according to sums by the Evening Standard.

Is the fare increase justified?

So, why the increase? Not only is it for the inconvenience of clogged up streets during the Olympics, it’s to act as an incentive to stop cabbies from going on holiday. Bob Oddy, chief of the LTDA, told the BBC:

‘Because of the widespread chaos that’s been predicted during the Olympic period with regard to road closures and other disruption, 40% of our members are currently saying that’s when they’re going to take their summer break.

‘If we get 40% of cabs off the road, I’m afraid the average passenger won’t get a cab at any price. They won’t be there.’

It would be easy to shake your finger at cab drivers for profiteering, but if they’ve got no incentive to work during what’s likely to be ‘London from hell’, why should they stick around? This is further impacted by TfL’s decision to pay Tube drivers an Olympic bonus of £1,200 and also by the fact that private hire vehicles will be able to increase their fares by even more.

Is this what we should be showing the world?

Regardless of all this, won’t the Olympics represent the best time for business for London’s cabbies? There’ll be thousands of tourists wanting to get the Games. Plus, I’m almost certain public transport will crumble under its own weight, meaning frustrated passengers will be stomping out of the Underground and opening the door to our beloved black cabs.

Why leave London when they’re likely to make more money during one month than at any other time during the year? Maybe, just maybe, they’re bluffing. Transport for London has until February to make its decision on the proposal.

It’s hardly the best way to show off the capital to visitors from around the world. Do we really want them to leave our country with the words ‘Rip-off Britain’ front of mind?

Comments
Member

The taxis will not be the only ones taking advantage of the Games. What about hotel prices? I’ve had an ‘offer’ from Premier Inn that looks like a big hike in prices, plus a minimum of two nights stay!

Yes I am fortunate to have some tickets and will probably be able to travel up and back in one day, but for people who have to stay they will be stung if other hotels follow Premier Inn.

I do think the government should prevent anyone increasing their prices during the games, or at least limit the rise.

Member

Who cares, I don’t!

Member

Lots of Londoners do care, especially when it looks like the Olympics might make London chaotic. However, my advice would be to try and avoid taxis altogether.

Member

“but if they’ve got no incentive to work during what’s likely to be ‘London from hell’, why should they stick around? ”

err, because it’s their bloomin job!!!!

Are buses and trains doing it? no, is anyone but the taxi firms doing it? no. An disgraceful suggestion really and one that garners absolutely no sympathy from me. In fact it only serves to influence me to never use a London taxi again.

Member

Never mind the taxi drivers, what about the tube drivers – an extra £1200 over 2 weeks or so? Are they really going to do that much extra work?

Member

Yes, it’s certainly generous.

Member

Shan’t be relying much or at all on the Tube for travel into Central London during
anticipated chaotic weeks…. shall use either folding bike or pedal bike.

Things as they are are bad enough on the Tube for travel there on a significant
number of occasions….. don’t wanna risk or confront any further and almost
certain aggravations.

Member
Philip says:
23 November 2011

No people will avoid using taxis.
Iam a self employed taxi driver and find it hard enough without fares going up by 15%

Member

It’s a sham, everything will increase during the Olympics, if they are going to charge more so will I attitude, what can we do? Nothing, but the interesting thing is will the prices drop after the event, your guess is as good as mine (Don’t think so). Especially as I haven’t had a pay rise in 4 years, better become a Cab Driver.