Taxi drivers being made to choose between test fees and feeding families by Edinburgh council

The council’s test centre shut last week.

By Conor Matchett
Saturday, 28th March 2020, 6:45 am
Updated Monday, 30th March 2020, 10:03 am
Taxi and private hire drivers are being forced to stump up cash for tests that have been cancelled
Taxi and private hire drivers are being forced to stump up cash for tests that have been cancelled

Taxi and private hire drivers are being asked to choose between feeding their families and paying £350 for postponed council tests, a union official has claimed.

Scott Blair, from the Edinburgh Unite Cabs section, said drivers were being asked to stump up the money for licencing tests despite the Edinburgh City Council test centre being closed due to coronavirus.

He said: “The council said they will extend drivers’ plates given they can’t be tested but they still want the money.

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“Guys are being asked to make the decision to feed their families or pay their test fees.”

A renewal of a taxi licence costs a driver £348 but drivers are not able to have their vehicles tested due to the licencing centre’s closure.

Mr Blair said the council’s inaction is particularly damaging as the majority of drivers are self-employed with almost all of their trade disappearing as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

He said: “Everybody realises what is going on. We have got guys volunteering out there for the NHS and helping them travel freely.

“The DVSA have given six month extensions to MOTs, for example, hopefully that time it will have blown over and drivers will be back on their feet.

“We want to help and there are guys wanting to help but the council throwing this in our face is atrocious, especially to ask for money at this time.”

A council spokesperson said: “As the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic continues, we’re working hard across all service areas to identify where we need to make changes.

“We are very aware of the licensing issue and are urgently considering solutions to support the trade and drivers through these challenges.”