As a part-time taxi driver for 12 years, I know fare increases are always a thorny issue. The economics of running a cab are not favourable. Average weekly expenses are around £300, assuming no finance on your car/plate, which is rare. The cost of a Hackney plate on the circuit is £45,000.

The average hourly take is £10-£12. So, by the time you've worked a reasonable 40-hour week, you have netted, at best, £180 before tax/NI, holidays and times the car is off the road.

The brave drivers who subject themselves to the Friday/Saturday night pubbers and clubbers can earn a decent living, if their families don't mind.

Personally, I have every sympathy for the elderly who need our services. They do get some help from the council with yearly vouchers. But many customers who use taxis can well afford it (business people, companies) and the costs are tax-deductible.

Many of the younger people who go out on the club scene at the weekend tell me they stump up £10-£15 to get into clubs and then pay £3.50-£4 for a bottle of beer, so the cab fare home, especially if shared, is no big deal.

People tend to take the humble taxi for granted. In reality, you are being provided with a personal chauffeur 24 hours a day just by picking up the phone.

Would many of your readers care to invest £45,000 in such a venture, bearing in mind the working conditions and returns?

-John Beever, Hove