An alternative proposal for taxi fare increases in Reading has been squashed.

This summer, the Reading Taxi Association (RTA) put forward changes which would increase the starting fare by £1, up to £3.60 during the day (6am to 10pm) and £4.60 at night (10pm to 6am).

However, not all taxi drivers agreed with the RTA’s proposals, with a dissenting group of drivers putting forward alternative fare increases.

Imran Ali, one of the drivers who put forward the alternative proposal, called the RTA’s fare increase “unfair and disproportionate”.

The alternative asked for a more modest flag drop to £3 during the day and £4 at night, as well as an increase of how much drivers make while driving.

Currently, customers are charged 20p for every 133 yards charged.

The dissenting drivers were asking for that to be lowered to 121 yards in the day and 139-121 yards at night.

VIEW: Full list of Reading taxi driver alternative proposals for fare increases

Some of the drivers who supported the alternative fare increase are also members of the RTA, but disagreed with its proposal.

The alternative was considered at a Reading Borough Council licensing applications committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday, October 4).

At the meeting, councillor Paul Woodward (Labour, Church), chairman of the committee, repeatedly argued that negotiating fare increases should be undertaken through a trade union like the RTA, rather than through individuals.

Cllr Woodward said: “It’s not the responsibility of this committee to tell you how to organise. You just have more heft and weight as an organisation.”

An alternative to the RTA, the Reading Cab Drivers Association used to exist but is now defunct.

Fellow Labour members agreed with cllr Woodward.

Tony Page (Labour, Abbey) lead councillor for transport, said:  “If other organisations come forward, they will be consulted.

“I’ve found the RTA a responsible organisation that does consult.

“We don’t always agree, we’re not always able to deliver, but the benefit of working with an organisation is that they provide a valuable source of information on the trade.”

Cllr John Ennis  (Labour, Southcote) said the alternative proposals should ideally have been proposed at an RTA meeting.

READ MORE: Reading Taxi Association put forward proposal for taxi fare increases 

Ultimately, the committee decided to approve the RTA proposal, with the option of a review in six months.

Cllrs Doug Creswell and Louise Keane, both Green members for Katesgrove, voted against.

It means the starting charge will be £3.60 in the day and £4.60 at night from now on.

You can view Tweet coverage from the meeting here: 

It was also agreed to add wording to the cab drivers fare chart warning passengers that go outside the borough that they will likely have to pay for drivers charges, which include the congestion charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone in London, and drop off fees for airports.

The ‘soiling charge’ for vomiting or making a mess was increased to £70 inside and £25 outside a cab.

Additionally, the committee agreed a criteria for obtaining a Hackney Carriage Vehicle licence.

Although there are many drivers with a Reading Borough Council Hackney Carriage Drivers licence, which allows a holder to drive a cab, there are only a certain amount of drivers who possess a vehicle licence.

These licence holders can hire out their cabs to those with cab driving licences.

The committee agreed that the criteria for a vehicle licence should be that a driver should hold a cab drivers licence for eight years (rather than the 12 proposed), and the new vehicle must be a brand new Ultra Low Emmission Vehicle or brand new fully electric cab.