BLACK cab fares may now be reviewed every year after the latest increase was approved on Tuesday.

Oxford City Council has approved an average increase of two per cent in the fares hackney carriage drivers can charge, but a public consultation still has to take place before final approval is given.

The move follows a request from the City of Oxford Licensed Taxicab Association (COLTA) which has said it will begin reviewing fares once a year.

Currently it asks for an increase every three years but COLTA representative said the body would rather ask for small, regular increases rather than large ones every few years because this would be less work for it and the city council.

When asking for the increase, COLTA said drivers are being “pushed to the limits” because of the cost of fuel and tough trading conditions.

Explaining why it would prefer to review fares annually and then submit any request for an increase to the council, a spokesman for COLTA said: “He said: “We are trying to work in partnership with the city council to come up with a good balance all around.”

COLTA’s approved plans would see journeys from 6am to 10pm Monday to Saturday go up by an average of 1.95 per cent. So a five-mile journey would increase from £10.60 to £10.90.

Outside of those hours, fares would go up by 1.81 per cent and over Christmas and New Year the increase would work out at 2.09 per cent.

City councillor Saj Malik, who works as a black cab driver, welcomed the news that fares could be reviewed every year.

He said: “Bus companies can increase their fares when they want but we have to ask the council. What we want is fairness, but in recent years we have not been treated fairly.”

City councillor Colin Cook is chairman of the general purposes licensing committee which approved the increase on Tuesday evening.

He said: “We are duty bound to take any request for a fare increase from COLTA as and when it comes and it is up to them when they put that in but I suspect a frequency of about a year is better.

“The public is probably more accepting of small, regular increases than big hikes.”

He said fares used to be reviewed every three years, and before that every five years.

Black cab fares are regulated by the city council while those for private hire drivers are not.

However journeys which end outside the city are not under the jurisdiction of these agreed fares.