A taxi firm in Lincoln has said it was left with no choice but to increase fares after the rise in fuel prices, but another local company is sticking with current costs while it ‘reviews the situation’.
Back in November last year, local taxi firms told The Lincolnite they had to contend with driver shortages, rising costs, and what they described as unavoidable delays – which are still causing frustration for customers.
The situation is showing no signs of drastically improving any time soon and even became a talking point for Chris Moyles on his Radio X show last year, which led to a friendly back and forth between The Lincolnite and the Radio star to bring the issue to the fore even further.
In an announcement on social media, Direct Cars Ltd said fares would be rising from Monday, March 21, stating: “[It’s] with regret that due to the increasing costs of fuel, we will be increasing our fares.”
Direct’s fares have now gone up by a minimum of 50p and manager Ragan Crow told The Lincolnite it is “solely to do with the price of fuel and the associated costs for running a vehicle”.
She said: “We have been struggling since the price starting rising. We never want to put our prices up, but the drivers have to earn a living or they won’t stick at it, and with fuel as it is we were left with no choice but to up to the prices.
“We do plan to drop them back down if the price of fuel changes for the better.”
Ragan added: “We have some new drivers, but not enough to balance out what we’ve lost, so it’s still a very difficult situation. We can’t take as many bookings as we’d like and have to give long waits on something people should be able to get sooner.
“A lot of people know that now so are pre-booking their taxis. We haven’t got the flexility we had previously, but we are working really hard to get more drivers and are offering to pay them to get their badges done.
“Increasing our prices is something we don’t like doing but we have no choice to maintain the availability in Lincoln that we have. There is no alternative but to put the fuel levy on and increase the prices.
“I think that it will be a frustrating year. I was rather hoping it would have sorted itself out by April, but I don’t think it will with recent events surrounding fuel prices.
“We are working hard to try and do what we can. We are advertising for drivers all the time and offering to pay for the process, I don’t know what more we can do to encourage them.”
Anyone interested in applying should contact 01522 535400 or email [email protected].
Vladimir Kubjatko, co-owner at A2B Cars Lincoln with his brother Stefan, said they put prices up just before Christmas 2021 by 50p/£1, depending on the journey, which was the firm’s first increase since 2017. As things stand, he has no plans to introduce any further price increases this year though.
He told The Lincolnite: “That increase didn’t take into account the price of fuel going up by 50% and everything associated with it, such as tyres and other car maintenance costs related to the trade.
“We are not planning to increase our prices at the moment and are currently reviewing the situation. We are waiting for fuel prices to go higher before we have to increase it, or go down so we don’t have to. As it stands we can keep our current prices.”
Regarding the driver shortage situation, he added: “The driver shortage situation hasn’t changed and when people see how complicated the process can be it can put them off applying, but it isn’t difficult either and every company will guide people through it.”
People interested in applying can email [email protected].
He added: “We are not near the capacity to cope with the amount of calls we get, it can be overwhelming. We need to hire some new drivers and are actively recruiting, but there isn’t as much interest.
“We want to say a big thank you to the customers for their continued support of our business during these hard times. I am glad we have come out of the COVID situation and life is returning to normal.
“People are not afraid to enjoy their social life again, which we like to see not just from a trade point of view but a human point of view too.”
The Lincolnite also contacted Handsome Cabs, but the company declined the opportunity to provide any comment on the situation.