A taxi driver has said a proposal to increase fares across the district is unjustified.

Braintree Hackney Carriage Association (BHCA) has put forward a proposal to increase starting rate fares from £3.20 to £3.50 and the waiting time from £18 to £21 per hour.

Plans were discussed at a Braintree Council licensing meeting on yesterday and, if agreed, a 14 day consultation will take place before changes take effect.

Witham taxi driver since 2009 and former chairman John Cenci said: “I don’t think it is viable.

“The Association has antiquated views and the rise is not justified.

“I don’t know a single driver who works at Witham taxi rank who voted for the fare increase.

“We don’t think it is fair on people, our main concern is the commuters.

“The problem is when you get to time and a half it would make it £5.25 instead of £4.80 and it’s too much.”

The last fare increase was November 2013 when the starting rate for journeys increased from £3 to £3.20.

However, rates are increased by 50 per cent between 11pm and 6am on Sundays and public holidays and between 6pm and 11pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

It doubles between 11pm on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and 6am on December 27 and January 2.

A letter sent to the licensing committee by BHCA chairman Alan Holden said: “This is to keep up with the cost of living, fuel, insurance, vehicle parts and maintenance.

“We have not had an increase for three years and waiting time has not increased for a considerable time.

“We tried to keep the cost to the customers down for three years but we feel this increase is necessary for to reclaim back some of the expenses and to keep the vehicles in the high standard they are at the moment.”