TAXI fares are set to rise in Tendring for the first time in almost six years following plea from cabbies.

Councillors backed a formal request by the Tendring District Taxi Association (TDTA) to increase the prices and distance rates its drivers' charge.

Cab fares have remained unchanged in the district since July 2012, since which time then RPI inflation has risen by 13.7 per cent.

Its said the changes also aim to remove the need for drivers to carry 5p and 10p coins.

The council's licensing committee backed the new tariffs in principle and a 14-day consultation will now be held to allow the public to comment on the proposals.

Mark Cossens, chairman of the committee, said: “Taxi drivers are a key part of the transport network in Tendring, not just supporting the tourism industry and night-time economy but also playing a crucial role in helping residents – particularly the elderly and infirm – to live independently, such as by taking them to the shops, health appointments or to social events.

“While I am generally reluctant to support putting up prices which will impact upon our residents, in this case I am satisfied it is necessary to enable our taxi drivers to continue their work.

“With no increase in fares for six years now is the right time to adjust prices to prevent taxi drivers going out of business and the potential loss of their services to our residents.”

If there are no objecting comments then the changes will come into effect 28 days later – giving taxi drivers time to adapt their meters.

If objections are made then the proposals will go back to the committee's next meeting in July.

Under the proposals, one mile will rise by 20p to £4.60 (up 4.5 per cent), two miles will rise by 45p to £6.40 (up 4.5 per cent) and three miles will go up 50p to £8.20 (up 6.5 per cent).

Each subsequent 200 yards (183 metres) will cost 20p instead of 19p, while a waiting time of 60 seconds will cost 20p instead of 18p.

Tendring Council said the suggested tariffs will still keep taxi prices in the district lower than those in Colchester.