TAXI firms in Barrow have put their prices up for the first time in up to eight years.

Last week most cab companies are understood to have increased their fares in line with the hackney rates set by licensing authority Barrow Borough Council.

For some firms, this represents the first price increase in eight years, and drivers say it is a welcome move.

Between 7am and midnight journeys will start at a minimum price of £2.40 with a 10p charge for every 30 seconds the cab is kept waiting.

Between midnight and 7am the minimum fare is £3.60 with a 15p waiting charge.

On bank holidays, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve passengers will pay a minimum of £4.80 and 20p for each 30 second wait.

Bob Mullen is from the Furness Taxi Trade Association which represents a large number of both private hire and hackney taxi drivers.

“Some firms haven’t increased their prices for eight years so this has been a long time coming,” he said.

“Barrow is a bit behind most other areas, such as South Lakeland, when it comes to fares so this just brings us in line with most other areas in the country.

“One of the reasons taxi firms haven’t increased prices before is because they don’t cooperate with each other.

“Because the firms haven’t been able to agree to increase prices before they’ve all been reluctant to do so because if the others didn’t do the same their customers would just go elsewhere.”

Earlier this month the council agreed to scrap the cap on the number of hackney taxis.

The limit had previously been set at 120 licenses.

The council is allowed by law to limit the number of hackney licenses if there is ‘no significant demand which would be unmet’.

The move follows advice from the Office of Fair Trading to lift restrictions as it limited the availability of taxis and lowered the quality of service.

There is no limit, or provision, to control the number of private hire vehicles.

Hackney taxis can wait on a rank, or be flagged down, while private hire taxis must be pre-booked.