Private hire tycoon hit by airport taxi service dispute

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A TYCOON from the Capital is locked in a dispute with city rivals over a contract to collect passengers from Edinburgh Airport, it has emerged.

Stevie Malcolm, who owns Edinburgh City Private Hire (ECPH), was set to send drivers to the airport to drum up trade as part of a lucrative five-year contract starting today.

Now rivals Central Taxis, the Capital’s largest black cab firm, have lodged a complaint with licensing chiefs over Malcolm’s vehicles being allowed to operate as if they are black cabs.

Under the agreed deal, ECPH and partners City Cabs will have exclusive access to a lane outside the terminal, with City queuing on one side and ECPH on the other.

But ECPH has only been granted a temporary trading licence while council officers consider Central’s objection, with a ruling due later this month. A source said: “They think this satisfies the law for private hire customers booking in advance.

“But Malcolm’s rivals are having none of it and have launched a legal fight to argue the set-up is contrary to the Civic Government (Scotland) Act. They say that, however you couch it, passengers will still be coming out of the airport terminal, seeing a queue of private hire cars, and jumping into one as if they were taxis.”

An airport spokesman said marshals would be on hand to offer passengers a choice between the two firms.

A lawyer for Mr Malcolm’s firm said: “ECPH are not in contravention of any legislation governing private hire vehicles at Edinburgh Airport.”

Central Taxis declined to comment.