BLACK cab drivers in Ellesmere Port are objecting to increased fares.

Last November, hackney trade representative Gary Woodward put forward proposed increases, the first for nearly three years, to Cheshire West and Chester Council.

He said the increases, which would have seen a five mile fare rise by an extra £1 to £9.80, were backed by 50 members of the local trade.

The new rates were advertised in the Spring and the council had 27 objections, 26 from the trade.

Cabbies argued an increase would hit the disabled, the old and infirm, mums with prams and larger groups.

Black cabs are seen as expensive by the public, they suggested and hackneys would be much more expensive than private hire.

A black cab from Little Sutton to Destiny and Elite would be up to £10, they claimed, while a private hire would be £8.60.

Six people going from Little Sutton to Chester could pay more than £20.

The cabbies suggested ‘the Ellesmere Port and Neston zone needs the stability of the present pricing structure’ and pointed out fares had almost levelled between private hire and cabs.

Heathfield Court resident Rosanna Roberts told the council:“This seems a very inopportune time to be raising taxi fares when everyone else is cutting back”.

She felt an increase would mean a wheel chair bound friend would not be able to afford a cab to a day centre in Chester.

The objections are due to be considered by the council’s licensing committee on Tuesday at 10am at HQ in Chester.

Licensing officers say councillors can agree the increase or recommend revised fares. If approved basic fares for trips of two, three and five miles would be similar to charges in Chester.