Palma City council has put the brakes on the city's fleet of taxi drivers' demands for a 14.5 percent increase in tariffs next year. While taxi drivers claim that tariffs have to go up by 14.5 percent in order to cover rising operational costs, the city council is prepared to accept price hikes of between 11 and 12 percent. Sources at city hall have said that taxi fares are already expensive and have urged taxi drivers to stop making the consumer pay for rises in fuel prices. When the price hikes were initially proposed earlier this month, representatives for the taxi fleet said that over the past six years, they have only put fares up slightly out of respect for their clients, but the annual increases have been enough to match the rising operating costs, which is why taxi drivers are lobbying for the 14.5 percent rise. At first the figure of 18 percent was being muted, but cabbies know that would be an unacceptable rise. However tomorrow the parties involved will be meeting to discuss the issue and union representatives are confident that the city council will accept an 11 or 12 percent increase. President of Small Business Association cabbies, Gabriel Moragues, says that the annual fare increases since 1994 have been 8.9 percent, but he argues that simultaneously operating costs have risen by 53.74 percent. The flat rate per kilometre could go up by 12 pesetas and the minimum costs after 10pm will be 500 pesetas. Moragues says that by increasing the night-time tariff the general public will benefit because more taxi drivers will be inclined to work and therefore there will be more taxis about. However, over the past few months, getting a taxi in the centre of Palma during the day has been hard enough.


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