THE region's largest taxi firm is to introduce 'surge pricing', where customers will pay double if wait times are over 45 minutes.

But angry customers of Boro Taxis have taken to social media to complain, with one saying: "That's Uber pricing. But we're in Thornaby, not London."

The firm said it had introduced the new pricing structure to try to attract more drivers to work peak times.

However, customers have hit out at the plans on Facebook, saying that they shouldn't have to pay more if they have to wait a long time for a taxi.

They also expressed fears that the pricing structure was too complicated and unclear.

But a company spokeswoman said the pricing would be made clear at the time of booking.

And if a taxi is booked two days in advance for a certain fare, that fare would stand however busy the firm is.

Boro said the new pricing structure was coming into play immediately.

Where there is a 20-minute wait prices will go up by 25 per cent, a 30-minute wait by 50 per cent, a 40-minute wait by 75 per cent and a 45-minute wait by 100 per cent.

The spokeswoman said: “Our surge pricing will only apply at times of highest demand. The Private Hire & Taxi Monthly magazine has reported that Hackney Carriage taxi fares in Middlesbrough are the lowest out of 363 councils. Boro Cars fares will still be less than the hackney carriage taxi fares set by local councils.

"Surge pricing was introduced to the industry years ago by International App companies and is now commonplace in many towns and cities throughout the country.

“All fares will be quoted before the customer confirms their booking.

“There is a shortage of drivers entering the trade due to the earnings and many of our drivers will not work the night time economy because of the fear of assaults and abuse many drivers have suffered from a minority of the travelling public.

“100 per cent of the surge pricing will be retained by the drivers, and it is hoped this will encourage more drivers to work at times of high demand."