There have been mixed reviews concerning Glasgow City Council’s plans to increase the baseline fare for late-night taxi drivers from £3 to £4.60 in Scotland, with many taxi drivers arguing that this could cause friction between drivers and their customers. Furthermore, Les McVay who represents over twelve hundred drivers as secretary of the City Cabs firm, has argued that increasing the baseline fare will actually lead to more arguments between drivers and passengers and would also put people in danger who decide to walk home instead of paying the more expensive taxi fare.
In an open letter to the Evening News, Mr McVay added: “An additional charge on anyone going out at night is not the best way to resolve this. Not only would such a charge penalise those who go for a night out, we in the taxi trade believe it would increase friction between drivers and passengers at a time when this is a large part of the problem itself, with many drivers preferring to avoid the possibility of unfortunate incidents that can occasionally happen at this time of night.”
“The trade would more importantly neither wish to put their safety at risk by individuals having to walk home who are unwilling to pay the extra charge. The introduction of CCTV cameras will help transform the job of a taxi driver at night, providing protection for drivers and customers alike. I hope that the council will dismiss the rip-off tariff, and the damage it could do to the city centre.” It is thought that the council are planning on increasing the rate in order to encourage more taxi drivers to work late during weekends, and that the costs could go towards taxi insurance, maintenance and licensing fees.
Some taxi drivers have even been in favour of the idea, such as Tony Kenmuir from City Cabs’ rival firm Central Taxis, who said: “I don’t think raising the fares is a bad idea but I think instead of asking taxi drivers, the public should be consulted on whether they would pay an extra £1.50 to get a taxi at 3am.” Furthermore, the council were not fond of the idea to introduce CCTV cameras, with vic-governor of the regulatory committee and licensing sub-committee, Councillor Angela Blacklock, saying: “I’m not sure about CCTV as there are other issues mainly to do with privacy. We are seeking to encourage more taxis in the early hours of the morning and in doing so are looking at what has been successful elsewhere and are consulting on a range of ideas.”