SALISBURY’S late night economy chiefs are calling on council bosses to simplify taxi tariffs, in the hope of bringing more people into the city.

Business owners say that their customers feel they are being “charged too much”, while taxi firm heads claim the highest tariffs – which charge passengers between £4.50 and £6 for a trip of just 176 yards and 45p-60p for every one tenth of a mile thereafter – are too easily accessible.

Currently the countywide charges for hackney carriages – taxis that can pick up passengers from the street or from ranks, are split into five price tariffs, which start at £3.20 for the first 176 yards, and 20p after.

The different tariffs are enforced depending on the seat capacity of the vehicle, and the time of day the journey was started – with prices peaking between 2.30am and 5.59am.

But now, a proposal from the city’s taxi operators, supported by the Late Night Economy Group, announced at a special meeting on Thursday, is set to be submitted to Wiltshire Council to simplify the fees.

This includes plans to have only the lowest tariffs used on a standard day, with the higher tariffs only used for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Amanda Newbery, owner of The Chapel Nightclub, said: “It is time to get this sorted, so we all know where we are coming from.”

It comes just three months after county council leaders rebuffed calls from city businesses to bring in a separate tariff for Salisbury, in a bid to draw more punters into the city.

Cathedral Hotel owner Tommy Roberts said there needed to be “more consistency” and “control” with the rates charged.

Mr Roberts added: “I often hear from my guests that taxis in the city are too expensive and they are being charged two or three different prices.”

He also said charging soldiers £90 from Salisbury to Tidworth “cannot be justified”, adding: “We need people in the city, not going to Bournemouth, Southampton or Portsmouth.”

And it wasn’t just business owners who raised concerns.

Kobir Ullah, who runs taxi firms 509090 and 666666, said: “We were against [the previous five tariff changes]. We said we didn’t want a price increase. The council went and still did it. Then brought [in] the five tariffs.”

Adrian Sainsbury, of Value Car Group, added: “The only issue, and it’s not the council’s fault and nobody’s fault in this room, is that the tariffs are too high at one end and too available – available for people to be used and that needs to be discussed.”

In response, Julie Anderson-Hill, of Wiltshire Council, said each of the tariffs were the market rate.

She said: “There are certain perimeters in that in terms of time, the number of days that those tariffs apply. The allowance the driver can change is to pay up to the maximum of that tariff. So for example if the maximum tariff is £50 and somebody comes over I’m going to charge you £35 or £50. That is the flexibility in which we have allowed the businesses to have.”

Wiltshire councillor for Old Sarum Ian McLennan said: “Just about everywhere else other than Salisbury wanted to keep the higher tariffs after midnight because they say they haven’t got the same competition and need. There isn’t the nighttime economy in the north that there is in the south.”

Another taxi firm operator said: “The issues is not the day tariff or the tariff up until 2.30am. The problem is Wiltshire Council have given the right for any particular driver to charge stupidly high rates. We never wanted it in 2014, we don’t want it now. We want to go back to a standard three tariff, a day rate, night rate and Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day — the three days on tariff three.”

Salisbury councillor Atiqul Hoque added that for the city to “thrive” the tariff needed to be simplified.

The proposal is to be discussed by Wiltshire Council’s licensing committee on January 27.