Airport taxi passengers set for fresh fare hikes

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Taxi fares in Edinburgh will rise by six per cent and airport passengers will be lumped with a £2.80 charge before they have even hauled their luggage into a cab.

The City of Edinburgh Council’s Regulatory Committee has agreed to increase the tariffs for taxis across the city by six per cent. This means an average weekday one-mile journey between 6am and 6pm would rise from £3.60 to £3.85, and a five-mile journey would increase from £11.35 to £11.85.

But passengers being picked up by taxis at Edinburgh Airport will be hit with a bumper additional £2.80 charge – up from the 80 pence which is currently added on to fares.

Some taxi firms have a commercial agreement with the airport, while others simply pick up passengers. But all taxi customers at the airport will face the £2.80 charge.

The new charges will come into action on June 18, in time for the busy summer period, after being unanimously agreed by the committee. The last review of taxi fares took place in 2014, but a legal challenge meant the current rates were not put into action until November 2016.

Taxi companies had previously agreed support for the tariff increase, but earlier this month, Central Taxis indicated it would object to the airport charge.

Speaking at Monday’s committee meeting, Tony Kenmuir, chairman of Central Taxis, said: “Charges by the airport were introduced and every few months, they are increased. There’s never been any consultation. You go to pick up a pre-booked passenger and you find out it costs you more than it did the day before.

“We don’t support passing on to the public a charge which has been volunteered as part of a commercial agreement [with other companies]. The airport wants £2.80 from everybody that gets into a taxi. We don’t want to be relegated to being tax collectors on behalf of Edinburgh Airport. I think that charge, and passing it on to the passenger at the same time as adopting the increase is more than the market will bear.”

Les McVay, company secretary of City Cabs, said an agreement with the 
airport meant the current £4 charge for taxi drivers will be reduced to £2.80.

He said: “The trade worked together with Edinburgh Airport to amend these charges and an agreement was made to set a universal fee for all taxis to pick up at the airport in the designated areas at £2.80.

“The taxis already have a pick-up charge which is on the tariff and the trade has asked that that be raised to a more realistic level.”

Airport bosses have raised concerns over taxi drivers picking up in the £1 drop-off zone – which can cause confrontations. It is hoped the new agreement will stop this from happening.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “It’s important we ensure a steady supply of taxis for passengers from our taxi rank but we understand other taxis also operate from Edinburgh Airport.

“The tariff changes agreed by the council allows Edinburgh Airport to grant access to other taxi drivers with no additional cost to them.”