Edinburgh taxi drivers call for action due to 'flagrant breaches' of regulations by private hire vehicles

Taxi drivers in the Capital have demanded that more is done to reduce “flagrant breaches” of regulations by private hire drivers in the city and that current numbers should be a “cause for concern”.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 14:28 pm
According to a freedom of information request, Edinburgh Council dealt with1,455 complaints against private hire car operators and private hire car driving licence-holders in the last two years.

Their union also hit out at the council’s reticence to include adequate enforcement as part of its regulation of the trade and called for a dedicated enforcement team.

According to a freedom of information request, Edinburgh City Council dealt with 1,455 complaints against private hire car operators and private hire car driving licence-holders in the last two years.

Taxi drivers have demanded action.

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The demand by Unite Edinburgh’s taxi branch is part of a wider petition which will be presented to councillors at the City Chambers on Friday.

More than 500 drivers across the city have signed the petition which calls for a cap on the number of private hire vehicles in the capital.

Chair of the Unite Edinburgh cab branch, Scott Blair, said that “serious concerns” have been raised by drivers in the city about the conduct of private hire drivers.

He added that the potential extra emissions and congestion were also of concern to members.

Drivers are due to show support of the petition outside the City Chambers on Wednesday by attaching banners with their demands to a trailer.

He said: “The number of licenses in Edinburgh should be a cause of concern for cab drivers, private hire drivers and passengers.

“Serious concerns have been raised regarding the flagrant breaches of regulations that occur throughout the City particularly at the weekends.”

Drivers are due to show support of the petition outside the City Chambers on Wednesday by attaching banners with their demands to a trailer.

Mr Blair added: “The refusal of Edinburgh City Council to include enforcement as part of its regulation of the trade puts the public at risk from unscrupulous and illegal operators.

“Drivers and the public are rightly demanding a dedicated enforcement team. As ambassadors for Edinburgh, we play a vital role in supporting Edinburgh as a destination of choice for tourists and residents.

“Councils across Scotland and the wider UK have taken the lead, it's time for Edinburgh to follow.”

Licensing Sub-Committee Convener, Cllr Catherine Fullerton, said: “The Council have officers, including staff operating out of the taxi examination centre, working in partnership with Police Scotland to monitor and inspect the private hire and taxi trades across the city, ensuring the safety of the public and that the high standards we have are maintained.

"Periodic spot checks are carried out on the taxi and private hire trade and any complaints are investigated. All licensed private hire and taxi drivers undergo full checks to ensure that the Licensing Authority are satisfied that drivers are ‘fit and proper’.

"We would strongly encourage all members of the public to make sure they get into licensed taxis or pre-book their private hire car journey."