Letters: All taxi drivers are asking for is fare deal from council

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I am writing on behalf of the Edinburgh Licensed Taxi Partnership (ELTP), which represents the 5,000 working in the taxi service, to set out the reasons why we are pressing so hard for a fair increase in taxi tariffs.

There has been no fare increase for more than three years, and in that time, the trade has faced cost increases.

We decided to commission our own research from the Transport Research Institute of Edinburgh Napier University.

We believed that a 10.5 per cent rise was necessary to maintain incomes, and to maintain the investment levels and quality of what is accepted as the UK’s best and safest taxi fleet. We were happy to accept a lower increase providing the airport levy (currently 80p) was increased to £2. These points were put at a meeting with council officials where the ELTP stated that these proposals were part of a package and should not be “cherry picked”.

Unfortunately this is what has happened, with officials selecting the lower 8.42 per cent figure with trade concessions on other points. The council’s own officers recommend the tariff could be raised by as much as 13.5 per cent to take account of their calculation of the increase in costs.

The trade feel this is unacceptable in this current climate but believe we must be able to recover our cost of airport pick-up. Every taxi (and private hire) must pay to pick up at the airport whether or not they service the black cab rank. This is already allowed in the form of 80p. We now believe that this will be increased to cover some of the increase the trade have seen over the past four years. This fee was last increased in 2008 (60p to 80p) so a rise is not unprecedented.

All we want is a fair deal and a chance to recoup some of the lost ground of the last three years in which fares were frozen. To have such a major real terms cut in fares over a period in which such major challenges have been faced will only undermine the high quality of service Edinburgh taxis deliver.

Les McVey, Chair, Edinburgh Licensed Taxi Partnership

Careful what you wish for, Darling

IN urging an immediate public enquiry into the trams fiasco (News, October 24) Alistair Darling should be careful what he wishes for.

It was the Labour Party which set up TIE, a body with no experience, to run the tram project with a Labour councillor on TIE’s management board.

And it was Labour who pushed through the tram project after it was obvious that the business case was fatally flawed once congestion charging was defeated.

Janice Thompson, Walter Scott Avenue, Edinburgh

Men also victims of domestic abuse

CONGRATULATIONS to Scottish Women’s Aid marking its 35th anniversary of campaigning for a change in attitude to domestic abuse (News, October 21).

The article gave a figure for the number of domestic abuse incidents against women recorded by Lothian and Borders police in 2009-10. In the same year they recorded 1,351 incidents where a male was on the receiving end of abuse – one in seven of the total. Research regularly shows that men are several times less likely to report abuse.

The men who call the AMIS helpline, and the mothers and sisters who contact us on their behalf, clearly reveal the problem is abuse of power within a relationship. Our aim is to support men who need help now.

Alison Waugh, Secretary, Abused Men In Scotland

City archaeologist revered in Egypt

GINA Davidson’s article on “Egyptian Mysteries” (News, October 19) does less than justice to the late Ian Mathieson by saying that he “spent his life dabbling in archaeology”.

In fact, Ian was a brilliant geophysicist who was ahead of his time in devising new methods to discover the archaeology which lay concealed beneath the ground. His finest work was done at Saqqara in Egypt. Indeed, he was so highly regarded in Egypt that his name rightly appears in the very select list of celebrated archaeologists at the Imhotep Museum at Saqqara.

David Heggie, Scottish Egyptian Archaeological Trust, Edinburgh