HACKNEY carriage fares could increase in Newport if councillors give the go ahead next week.

Proposals to raise the cost of fares were put forward by the Newport Hackney Drivers Association (NHDA), as the last review was in June 2008.

They include increasing the initial charge from £2.50 to £3 and doubling fares at Christmas and New Year.

The initial charge currently includes the first 1,200 yards travelled and a further 10 pence is added for every 116 yards travelled.

But the NHDA wants to half this distance to 600 yards and reduce the 116 yards to 112 because it says 80 percent of the trips are for short fares.

The proposals also include extending the night-time hours from 12 midnight to 4am to 11.30pm to 6am during which time drivers charge at extra £1 on journeys.

There is also a request to extend the times considered as Christmas and New Year periods and double fares during the these times.

This would mean an eight mile journey, which would normally costs £17 including a £1 extra Christmas charge, would cost £32 - an increase of 88 percent.

Figures published in April this year from 380 local authorities showed that for a two-mile journey Newport had the 59th lowest fare.

A report by the council’s principle licensing officer said the NHDA proposals were substantial and could not be justified.

The officer said it was unreasonable to change the night-time hours to 11.30pm to 6am and said 12 midnight to 5am would be more appropriate.

The report said it would be fair to reduce the distance at which an incremental 10 pence is charged from 116 yards to 112 and said Newport previously doubled fares at Christmas and New Year, as other authority’s do, so it was therefore reasonable to reinstate it.

The council’s licensing committee will review the proposals at a meeting on Tuesday.