THE cost of taxi fares in Salisbury could drop as part of a review to make sure licensing arrangements are fair across the county.

Wiltshire cabinet member for adult social care, public health and public protection Jerry Wickham called for a review into the schedule of late-night tariffs after feedback that high costs in Salisbury are damaging the city’s nighttime economy.

A scrutiny task group previously recommended Wiltshire Council address issues surrounding tariffs, competency/qualifications of drivers, CCTV inside vehicles and the number of drivers able to carry disabled passengers.

Their findings were that, although tariffs in Salisbury appear to be in line with the rest of the county, passengers pay high costs for relatively short journeys. One example was a trip from Salisbury to Bulford, which cost £80.

Cllr Wickham said: “If you take at face value what the original task group was saying, it’s clear something is wrong. We do want to get to the bottom of it and sort it out.”

Wiltshire Council has agreed to set up a working group to investigate the matters, but recommendations will not be put in place until the end of an ongoing government consultation on statutory guidance for taxi and private hire vehicle authorities, on April 22.

Licensing committee chairman Peter Hutton said he was pleased to lead the review to “ensure that the licensing authority strikes a fair balance between the right to work for taxi drivers and the public’s right to protection”.

Chapel nightclub owner Amanda Newbery has been pushing for a review into taxi fares. She said: “With the pending university status of our college and with the recent leadership drive to try to attract more young people to live, work and stay in Salisbury, it is imperative that we align our policies for this demographic.

“Places to live, jobs for the future and a late-night economy fit for purpose are essential parts of retaining 18-35 year olds to set up their lives here and I know that many Wiltshire councillors recognise the importance of this in the context of our future economic prosperity.”