Catching a cab in Canberra became more expensive on Tuesday after the ACT Government approved an increase in fare charges for the 13th consecutive year.
Minister responsible for the Justice and Community Safety Directorate Simon Corbell reviewed an annual submission by the Canberra Taxi Industry Association (CTIA) earlier in the year and subsequently approved a 0.85 per cent total fare increase from July 1.
The submission, which CTIA produced in association with ANU's College of Business and Economics Professor Des Nicholls, recommended taxi fares increase by 0.85 per cent as a whole with flagfall charges to increase by 15c to $5 and per kilometre rates to increase to $2.
Canberra Elite Taxis managing director Mark Bramston said the fare increase was a routine part of business and taxi fares have increased consecutively over the past 13 years with government approval.
“This is just a normal cost of living indexing and we believe the fare increase is quite reasonable and for us this is just normal business,” he said.
Mr Bramston said the increase in fares took into consideration all cost increases taxi owners and drivers have encountered including the cost of fuel, vehicles costs, repairs, tyres, registration and administration.
“Interests rates have gone down which is why the increase is quite low this year, but the biggest impact on the whole thing is labour expenses, which include the hours worked by the driver to the owners [who are] responsible for regulatory compliance work,” he said.
The increase comes after news federal bureaucrats have spent more than $62,000 a day on taxis with costs rising over the past few months.
Almost $11 million was spent on taxi fares by federal bureaucrats from September 2014 to February this year, which equates to 142 trips around the world.
One Canberra-based taxi driver, who declined to be named, said the increase in fares was a catch-22 situation for taxi drivers and owners.
“If they put the fares up by too much then the public get upset about it, but every time the fares go up it seems the base fees [for taxi owners] do as well,” he said.
The Canberra taxi driver said it had been hard to earn a living driving taxis since the government decided Canberra needed more cabs on the streets.
“Our biggest expenses out on the road were fuel and then registration but base fees work out to be around $1500 a month for some owners,” he said.
A Justice and Community Safety spokeswoman said the increase of taxi fares was consistent with the industry.
"The Office of Regulatory Services, Public Transport Regulation invites industry to make submissions on the fares, which are calculated using a Taxi Composite Cost Index developed by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission in 2004," she said.
"Taxi regulators in most States and the Northern Territory use a similar TCCI updated with annual cost data from industry, to set taxi fares."