Taxi fare hike plan ditched after criticism

The taxi plan was widely criticised. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The taxi plan was widely criticised. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A CONTROVERSIAL “party tariff” that would see cab fares hiked up after midnight has been shelved following an outcry from politicians and women’s groups

The proposal aimed to introduce a new late-night tariff from 12am to 5am and mimic Glasgow’s price structure, where the highest fare rate starts at £4.60.

Edinburgh’s baseline fee for night-time taxis currently begins at £3. A study into the change failed to stipulate how much the fare would be raised if rubber-stamped.

But an updated report likely to be approved by city chiefs on Friday suggests postponing a decision on the so-called party tariff pending more public consultation.

Raymond Davidson, secretary of the Edinburgh Taxi Association, welcomed the recommendation insisting there was “little appetite” for the late-night fare.

He said: “Since this idea was proposed I have not heard any cab drivers who have been in favour of it. Many think it’s a non-starter. Some passengers have commented on it and I think they are happy enough to carry on what they have now.”

It was thought the more expensive tariff may help encourage more taxi drivers to work past midnight to cater for the late-night rush hour, particularly at weekends.

Lothian MSP Kezia Dugdale urged a re-think of the scheme – alongside anti-street harassment charity Hollaback Edinburgh – arguing that the move would “penalise women in particular” who are often encouraged to take a taxi home for safety.

She said: “I’m delighted that the council has shelved this daft proposal and I’m glad the council is thinking again,

“I made my own representations to the council to that effect and it’s good hear they are listening.”

Councillor Gavin Barrie, convener of the regulatory committee which oversees taxi fares said: “A review of the taxi fare structure has recently been carried out by independent consultants and their recommendations were considered by the council’s regulatory committee.

“The committee decided that some of the proposals, such as introducing a separate late-night tariff, should be looked at in more detail and further consultation with members of the taxi trade and the public should take place before any decisions are made.”

Meanwhile, taxi fares are set to rise by 3.6 per cent – in accordance with the Consumer Prince Index – as part of the review while the cost of “soiling” a cab now peaks at £50.

A council report indicates there have been no objections to the soiling charge nor marginal fare increase. Any changes will be re-examined after 18 months.

The fare review comes almost two years after taxi prices were last raised and three years on from Edinburgh Airport’s introduction of the controversial £1 drop-off charge.