Black marks for 130 city cabbies as passenger complaints soar

Taxi drivers have faced sanctions after complaints
Taxi drivers have faced sanctions after complaints
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MORE than 130 Edinburgh taxi drivers have faced disciplinary action in the last year over complaints ranging from bad driving to the condition of their cab.

Drivers have faced sanctions including warnings and black marks on their official record, while three of the most serious cases have been reported to the police.

It comes after the Evening News revealed how complaints by passengers had soared in the last year, though city council chiefs point out that it is still a relatively low number out of 3000 taxi drivers in the city.

The actual number of complaints which led to action has risen from 72 in 2010 to 132 last year.

The cab trade has called on the council to release details of each incident to reassure the public the majority are minor.

Raymond Davidson, secretary of the Edinburgh Taxi Association, said: “The figures are quite high and that is very worrying. It does concern me because if this is the rise in one year, how many upheld complaints can we expect to see next year?

“The complaints process has been made easier for passengers, but I would love to see the breakdown of complaints and what substance there is to them, because if they are about drivers taking a wrong turn then we have all done that.

“But if there are serious complaints that warrant further action, then I’m in favour of that.”

Latest figures show there were 58 complaints about the behaviour of drivers last year, 42 relating to driving, and 20 complaints about the route taken or the fare. Other complaints included a lack of child seat belts and the general condition of the vehicle.

In the vast majority of cases, the complaint was marked on the taxi driver’s official record, while 30 drivers received warnings, five were referred to licensing chiefs for possible suspension, and three were reported to the police.

The complaints procedure has been changed in recent years, making it easier to complain, but councillors on the regulatory committee said a spike in driver penalties showed passengers’ concerns were being acted upon.

Councillor Louise Lang, vice-convener of the regulatory committee, said: “If there’s going to be complaints, it’s reassuring to know they are being properly dealt with.

“The issue we now have to concentrate on is what is actually prompting the complaint in the first place and what we can do to address that. I would be more concerned if people were not complaining.”

Councillor Lang added that the council’s next step to reduce complaints could be through “additional training, better information and tighter scrutiny of the conditions placed on [drivers’] licences”.

A council spokesman said: “Over 3000 drivers operate under licences we issue and the vast majority of journeys happen without any issues. However, we take all complaints from the public seriously.”