A CENTRAL Fife taxi driver has expressed his concerns over a price rise which is due to come into place in December and fears that increased fairs could turn people away from local cabs.

The cabbie, who didn't want to be named, said the cost of a taxi is now on a par with their Edinburgh neighbours, however, he said his Cowdenbeath patch does not have the tourist customers to keep him and his colleagues going.

Fife Council's Regulation and Licensing Committee agreed to increase prices – 10p for daytime journeys and 15p for after 10pm – at their meeting earlier this year after a fare review process involving the local authority and taxi operators.

These are due to come into effect on December 2.

However one driver said fares are already too high.

"I have been doing this for about 20 years and I have seen prices being so low, but now we are about as dear as Edinburgh which to me is crazy," he told the Times. "They have tourists as well. It is just madness.

"A lot of people in the area are on low wages, unemployed and there are a lot of old people.

"It is not a city centre but the prices are going up to match. It is crazy because how could we match the price? It is a different story here."

The driver said he expects people to stop using taxis in the new year which will see people like himself suffer.

"It will be ok at Christmas time but then when you hit January, no one will use them. No one is going to pay that amount for taxis," he added.

"We are going to hit a downturn. The last few months, we have been sitting longer on the rank at Cowdenbeath and people aren't ringing as much as normal.

"I think personally the price increase will make it ten times worse.

"Putting prices up you are going to be sitting longer. Saturday night I have seen us sitting 7pm until 10pm and you are lucky if you get four hires. If they go up we are going to be the second dearest taxis in Scotland.

"I don't know if you decrease the fares but change when we do charge two is 10pm just now. If you work after a certain time you get more pay. I think stage two should start from 7pm but bring the fares down. Instead of going up 20p you would go down 20p."

A report to the Regulation and Licensing committee said members of the Sub-Committee were of the view that there should be an increase in the existing fares this year and that the increase should be a "fair increase" for both operators and the public.

"The increase proposed is based on information in the written representations received," it added.