Edinburgh airport: Taxi services from airport to be provided by private hire company Capital Cars under new deal

The new deal has sparked fears that there will be a lack of available black cabs from the airport.
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Taxi services from Edinburgh Airport will now be provided by a private hire firm after previous operator City Cabs lost out on the contract.

From April 14, Capital Cars will provide both the black cab and private hire operation at Edinburgh Airport after a joint bid by black cab companies was rejected. The move from two operators to one single company will see Capital Cars – which currently only provides private hire vehicles – managing the airport service for the next five years. It’s understood they will need to recruit black cab drivers, who are largely self-employed, but the move has sparked fears about a lack of available black cabs for those with disabilities.

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A spokesperson for Edinburgh cab branch of Unite said: "Our big concern is that there will be a lack of available black cabs and these are crucial for peak times, families and larger groups and for people with disabilities or mobility issues. It will go from hundreds of black cabs to a handful or a dozen if they are lucky. There’s a real danger then that disabled people and particularly those that use wheelchairs will struggle to get accessible transport from the airport.

Capital Cars has won the bid for Edinburgh AirportCapital Cars has won the bid for Edinburgh Airport
Capital Cars has won the bid for Edinburgh Airport

"It’ quiet now but during the summer and peak times there’s huge demand for vehicles, after we’ve seen a reduction in taxis since the pandemic."

Airport chiefs said the change will allow a ‘closer working relationship’ and that the deal would ensure "a steady supply of vehicles for passengers.” An Edinburgh airport spokesperson added that they were confident that Capital Cars could deliver on the deal to provide a mix of both black cabs and private hire vehicles and stressed that the tender process had been ‘stringent'.

The changes will also see a shift to upgraded technology, including charging points for electric vehicles, a queue monitoring system, and new automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, being installed to improve the passenger experience. A spokesperson for Edinburgh Airport said: “Onward travel from an airport is an important part of the passenger journey and we want to make that as easy and smooth as possible by providing as many options as we can.

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“The tender process has worked to identify how we can ensure a consistent and reliable supply of taxis and private hire cars for passengers who need that option and we are now able to confirm Capital Cars as our black cab and private hire operator for the next five years. We think the news measures we will introduce as part of this deal will provide passengers with up to date data on taxi and private hire times, as well as encourage that move to electric vehicles thanks to the installation of new charging points.

Taxi services from Edinburgh Airport will now be provided by Capital CarsTaxi services from Edinburgh Airport will now be provided by Capital Cars
Taxi services from Edinburgh Airport will now be provided by Capital Cars

“We know the taxi industry has faced challenges during Covid recovery and that has been experienced in cities across Scotland and the UK, and we hope the new measures together with a sole operator operating our rank will allow us to have a closer working relationship to identify where and how we can improve the experience for passengers.”

A spokesperson for Capital Cars said: "We understand there is some trepidation around this contract, as it's the first time Edinburgh Airport has had only one operator delivering both black cabs and private hire vehicles. But we already have some hackney cabs registered to work with us and we are looking to recruit more in the coming weeks. Comments about a lack of black cabs are just scaremongering. We are confident we can deliver the mix of both vehicles and meet customers' needs."

City Cabs has been contacted for comment.