Call for all taxi driv­ers to be bal­loted over bid to in­crease fares

Evening Express (City Final) - - News - By Adele Mer­son po­lit­i­cal re­porter

A UNION chief has called for all taxi driv­ers in the city to be bal­loted over a po­ten­tial move to in­crease fares by 5%.

One of the two pro­pos­als un­der con­sid­er­a­tion is in­creas­ing the ba­sic tar­iff from £2.40 up to £2.52 for the first 950 yards, with ev­ery ad­di­tional 180.5 yards go­ing from 20p to 21p.

The sec­ond op­tion is to keep the fares at their cur­rent level.

Mem­bers of Aberdeen City Coun­cil’s li­cens­ing com­mit­tee were be­ing asked to agree to put both op­tions out to con­sul­ta­tion when they met to­day.

Tommy Camp­bell, Unite re­gional of­fi­cer, said its mem­bers are di­vided on the is­sue and has called for the lo­cal au­thor­ity to di­rectly con­duct a bal­lot of all its li­censed driv­ers.

He added: “We’re not tak­ing a blan­ket view as we’ve heard dif­fer­ent feed­back.

“The com­ments we are get­ting fed back is ‘we haven’t had an in­crease in a long time so it’s not un­rea­son­able’.

“But a lot of the driv­ers aren’t nec­es­sar­ily in favour of the in­crease be­cause of their loy­alty to the cus­tomers as they re­alise cus­tomers are suf­fer­ing the ef­fects of aus­ter­ity.

“It would be more demo­cratic to have a con­sul­ta­tive bal­lot on this.”

Coun­cil­lor John Reynolds, con­vener of the com­mit­tee, said no de­ci­sion would be taken un­til a con­sul­ta­tion is car­ried out.

He said: “My ad­vice for any driv­ers that are con­cerned is to par­take in the con­sul­ta­tion and give us their thoughts. The pro­pos­als will go out to con­sul­ta­tion and we will get the re­sults.”

Graeme Mc­coll, chair­man of Aberdeen Taxi Group, pre­vi­ously said the trade sup­ports the rise of 5%, adding costs for ev­ery­thing have in­creased. The lo­cal au­thor­ity re­views fares ev­ery 18 months but has not in­creased them since 2011.

A re­port, to be con­sid­ered by the li­cens­ing com­mit­tee to­day, said driv­ers’ costs in­creased by 5.09% be­tween 2016 and 2018 from to­tal es­ti­mated costs – in­clud­ing an in­crease in fuel costs – of £42,991 to £45,123.

If coun­cil­lors agree to be­gin a con­sul­ta­tion next week, a re­port will be sub­mit­ted on the out­come of its find­ings. A fi­nal de­ci­sion on fu­ture fee lev­els would need to be adopted by the lo­cal au­thor­ity from June 26.

No de­ci­sion taken un­til con­sul­ta­tion car­ried out

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