A CALL for a ten per cent increase in taxi fares in Malvern was rejected - but prices still might increase in the future.

Malvern Hills District Council's executive committee rejected a call by the town's taxi drivers to put up prices by ten per cent to £4.40 for a one-mile journey but agreed to meet to find a compromise.

Taxi drivers argued the increase is needed because of the rise in the living wage, inflation and council tax as well as rises in bus and train tickets.

READ MORE: Taxi drivers in Malvern ask for 10 per cent fare increase

READ MORE: Councillor opposes plan to increase taxi fares in Malvern

Councillor Peter Whatley said some of the justifications for calling for an increase were “entirely irrelevant” and the decline in fuel prices had not been mentioned.

He said: “None of the changes quoted or unquoted are essentially relevant in supporting an increase.

“Even the current MHDC fares are on the high side and I would suggest any increase is extremely questionable.”

The national average fare for a two-mile journey is £5.91 – eight per cent cheaper than the existing fare in Malvern and 16 per cent below the proposed increased fare.

The cost of a two-mile journey – which is already the most expensive in Worcestershire – would increase from £6.40 to £7.

Taxi fares have not increased in Malvern since 2014.

Cllr John Raine, portfolio holder for environmental services, said the plan should be rejected but the council should work with taxi drivers to find a compromise.

He said it was important that all residents had good access to affordable taxis.

Cllr Tom Wells said it was a “sensible and pragmatic” to find a compromise rather than going with a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ approach.

He said the cuts to bus services left people with no other option but to use a taxi but could not understand why fares in Malvern should be any higher than the national average.

Cllr Wells suggested concessionary travel, which the council helped with for community transport in Malvern, could also be extended to taxis.

Cllr Paul Cumming said he did not want to create a problem by preventing an increase and it was important taxi drivers were given the chance to explain the reasons behind their request.

Alistair Smith, trade representative for hackney carriages and private hire taxis in Malvern, said the living wage had risen by 30 per cent since the last fare increase and fares would need to rise by around 15 per cent to cover the cost.

Only a basic fare would increase under the proposal with late-night, Bank Holiday, Christmas and New Year prices staying the same.