Taxi fares could be set to increase after councillors recommended new tariffs for the industry.
Members of the environment and transport committee unanimously backed the proposals at a meeting on Tuesday morning.
If approved by the council’s policy and resources committee next week the new fares will be introduced on 14th June.
The changes would see the cost of a 20-mile journey rise from £38.45 to £42.20.
Councillors heard that the proposed changes were the result of consultation with the industry, with taxi drivers feeling “the tariffs should rise to take account of rises in fuel [and] running costs”, said transport policy officer Robina Barton.
Currently, tariffs are capped at £3.80 for the first three-quarters of a mile and 45p for every subsequent quarter of a mile for journeys made between 6am and 10pm (rate one). This would rise to £4.00 for the first 0.7 of a mile and 20p for every additional 0.1 of a mile after – an increase of 20p per mile.
The starting rate for fares between 10pm and 6am (rate two) would rise from £4.00 to £4.50, with the cost for additional distance thereafter remaining the same.
Shetland taxi rates currently rank 136th out of 359 British licensing authorities in terms of expense. The new fares would see the isles rise to somewhere between 49th and 63rd. At £6.60, a two-mile rate one journey would cost 80p more than Orkney or the Highlands and £1.75 more than the Western Isles.
Also included in the proposals are changes to festive rates, where there are increases of 60p and 30p per mile for the daytime and overnight fares respectively. An extension of six hours to the holiday period would see passengers charged festive rates for journeys made after midnight but before 6am on the day after the increased fares end.
A further change, connected to a growing demand from tourists, is the proposed introduction of an excursion rate for private tours. These charges would be set at £45 per hour for cars holding up to four passengers and £50 per hour for vehicles holding up to eight passengers.