HAIL and ride taxi fares in Hyndburn are set to rise for the first time in five years following a plea from drivers.

Today the borough's taxi boss claimed drivers are worth the increase in charges, set to be rubber-stamped by councillors on Wednesday.

Hyndburn is one of only five authorities in the country which has not put up hackney carriage fares since 1999.

Passengers face increases in fares across all tariffs, meaning taxis driving five miles during the day would be able to charge £7.90 instead of the current £7.20.

Today Phil Bond, chairman of the Hyndburn chamber of trade, said: "At the end of the day it's for the council to decide, but we do want transport to be accessible to as many people as possible."

Mohammed Arif, chairman of the Hyndburn Taxi Association, said the move was to bring the borough in line with other areas, and to take into account rising costs.

He said: "Since 1999 insurance, petrol and council fees have gone up. Now we have no choice. If you put all the charges together we do deserve the rise."

Hackney Carriages -- taxis that can be 'hailed' as they drive -- have their fares controlled by the council. Private hire firms set their own rates.

The proposed increase would still leave taxis cheaper than other Lancashire boroughs. In Chorley, the cost of a five mile trip during the day is £8, and in Preston the trip is £8.24. In Ribble Valley a five mile trip costs £9.50 but in Blackburn, a five mile taxi trip would cost £7.09.

The Hyndburn Taxi Association has made a written request to Hyndburn Council asking for the fares to go up.

Extra charges will also be included in the new price plan, including a £25 'soiling charge', 20p for use of the boot, plus 20p for each dog carried, except guide dogs.