TAXI fares in West Oxfordshire could rise by 20 per cent.

A group of seven taxi firm owners has asked West Oxfordshire District Council to increase maximum fares for the first one-tenth of a mile from £2 to £2.40.

The council is consulting the public about the proposed changes before deciding whether to impose them.

Carterton-based Mark One Taxis owner Mark Griffiths said there hasn’t been a price rise since September 2007.

He said: “There’s been a huge increase in everything since then, including fuel, insurance, tyres and servicing, let alone a rise in normal household bills.

“The last time we had an increase, fuel was about 90p a litre but now it’s £1.30.

“What we’re asking for is minimal — we should be asking for a lot more but we’re well aware that people out there are struggling as much as we are.

“After seven years it’s not an unreasonable rate increase.”

Mr Griffiths claimed there had been an 80 per cent reduction in people going out since the last price rise.

He said: “There’s been a huge decrease in the amount of people going out in West Oxfordshire, particularly in Witney, and it’s hit our revenue.

“I used to run about 10 vehicles but now I have two or three.”

District council spokeswoman Carys Davies said: “The law states that taxi fares can be increased by a local authority if requested by the trade.”

A consultation ends on April 24.

If there are no negative comments the fares will be introduced immediately but if there is opposition, the licensing sub-committee will decide what to do.