Letters: It’s hypocrisy for taxi trade to criticise private hire drivers

One reader has written that the taxi trade is excluding potential drivers and should be more open to compete.
One reader has written that the taxi trade is excluding potential drivers and should be more open to compete.
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Doesn’t it beggar belief the taxi trade bemoaning the increase in private hire drivers (News, August 14) at what is arguably its busiest period of the year, when the city’s population is almost doubled with visitors?

In the 20-plus years since I became a cabbie taxi numbers have increased around 50 per cent while private hire has increased 500 per cent.

In that time the taxi trade has been run like a cartel aided and abetted by the council through maintaining a restriction on issuing new licence plates and setting artificial tariffs.

This has kept the number of taxi vehicles down, rental prices for drivers high and prices that force the public to pay over the top, if they can hail a cab in the first place.

I well remember the convener of the licensing committee telling a licence applicant who had been refused to drive for one of the city’s biggest taxi firms, and whom he was denying his own vehicle, that it was not the remit of the committee to take account of the applicant’s employment prospects.

Licence denied, the applicant was rendered unemployed and the councillor became an MSP.

Uber and other private hires offer a more competitive, less costly service, as well as work prospects for drivers who need to work.

Isn’t the taxi trade’s problem that it treats its customer base and drivers as its own cash cow and is using a business model that is not fit for purpose in a contemporary free market; losing out on both price and service.

Jim Taylor, Edinburgh