Central Radio Taxis ready for £2.4m deal despite legal threat

City Cabs and Central Radio Taxis are going head-to-head over the contract. File picture: Paul Parke
City Cabs and Central Radio Taxis are going head-to-head over the contract. File picture: Paul Parke
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A TAXI boss has insisted his fleet will be ready to take on a £2.4 million council contract despite fears the scheme could be delayed by legal action.

Central Radio Taxis was awarded the Taxicard contract to provide the city council’s discounted cab service for severely disabled residents earlier this month.

Rival firm City Cabs is now preparing to take the council to court over claims the authority “breached a number of the fundamental principles of European law” and “discriminated” against it in the bidding process – with a court summons set to be lodged tomorrow.

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The move – which comes after City Cabs’ solicitors called on the council to scrap the process or start again – could delay the new contract coming into force as the council decides whether to fight the action.

City Cabs argues that Central falls short of the council’s own key criteria by failing to deliver on promised saloon cars and only providing black cabs.

It insists people with disabilities such as hip replacements struggle to climb into the higher cabs, and need saloon vehicles to get around.

A petition started by Edinburgh City Private Hire – which put forward an unsuccessful joint bid for the Taxicard contract with City Cabs – has now amassed 190 signatures from disabled customers protesting against the council’s decision.

But Central Taxis boss Tony Kenmuir insisted his firm would provide saloon cars as promised, adding: “We have not made any commitment to anything we can’t deliver. As far as I can tell [City Cabs’] only legal argument is they did not win the contract and they think they should have. I would love to know in what way they were discriminated against.”

The council’s Taxicard service gives people with a permanent disability a fixed discount on taxi journeys, with the council reimbursing cab companies.

The contract to provide the service was previously shared by six Edinburgh firms, including City Cabs, Central and Edinburgh City Private Hire. By awarding it to just one firm at a cheaper rate, city chiefs hope to save over £100,000.

Les McVay, company secretary at City Cabs, said the firm would be writing to all its disabled customers with a view to keeping them on board.

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com