TAXIS in Blackburn may strike again unless they see fares rise.

Drivers held an evening strike on Friday when City Cabs proposed dropping the fare rate from £2.80 to £2 for the first mile.

In spite of leaving many people in the area without taxis, drivers say they have received a high level of support from customers during the action.

Now drivers say they want to see fares raised after seven or eight years with fares frozen.

In that time, drivers say petrol costs and insurance have risen dramatically, to the point where they cannot afford to go on without a fare increase. Spokesman for the group, Munawar Hussain, said 65 drivers had joined in the strike and they were canvassing drivers from other firms for their support.

He said: “Once one firm puts their prices up they all do, and every driver is struggling to earn a living.

“The drivers have been patient for so long, waiting and waiting for an increase.

“They were extremely shocked to see these plans recently for a drop in fares.

“When we met with the firm they agreed to drop the plan and so we have gone back to work.

“However this does not solve the pressing issue that drivers are not making ends meet.

“Insurance has gone up something like from £500 to over £1,000 per year for us.

“And everyone knows how fuel prices have gone up.

“We haven’t ruled out more strike action unless we are assured that there is going to be a change in the situation.

“One thing I must say is that the support of our customers has been most welcome.

“They see the logic and that the economics don’t add up and we are very grateful for the messages of support they have given us.”

A spokesperson for City Cabs said:”We’re not yet aware of what the drivers will request so we will be speaking to them and looking into it.

“We can’t comment further until we do.”