Taxi driver brands fares in­crease ‘a dis­grace’

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

A FORT WIL­LIAM taxi driver has branded a pro­posed 28 per cent in­crease in fares a ‘dis­grace’.

Nairn McArthur said driv­ers have been in­formed by Highland Coun­cil’s li­cens­ing com­mitte the price per mile for tar­iff one – Mon­day to Fri­day dur­ing the day – is to go up from £1.40 to £1.80. He said: ‘This is a dis­grace. There are peo­ple round here who rely on taxis but these reg­u­lar cus­tomers are not go­ing to con­tinue to get taxis. Peo­ple will just walk past and go for a bus.

Mr McArthur added driv­ers will also have to get their me­ters re- cal­i­brated and tested by the coun­cil which could cost £100 per taxi. He also said driv­ers who ten­dered for the school run did so in Jan­uary at the price of £1.40 per mile. The pro­posed changes would mean those com­pa­nies will have un­der-priced the school run.

Mr McArthur now plans to get as many driv­ers as pos­si­ble to sign a let­ter of ap­peal to send to the coun­cil.

Tar­iff two, which op­er­ates be­tween 9pm and 7am at the week­end and when five or more pas­sen­gers are car­ried at any time of the day, and tar­iff three, which is used on Christ­mas Day, Box­ing Day and Jan­uary 1 and 2 and when five or more pas­sen­gers are car­ried at any­time of the day on a Satur­day and Sun­day, will re­main un­changed.

In his let­ter Mr McArthur said: ‘The fact that un­der the pro­pos­als tar­iffs two and three would re­main un­changed would cre­ate a bizarre im­bal­ance be­tween the tar­iffs and we would be in­ter­ested to learn of the rational be­hind this.’

A Highland Coun­cil spokesper­son said the li­cens­ing com­mit­tee is re­quired to un­der­take a re­view of max­i­mum taxi tar­iffs in the High­lands ev­ery 18 months and to con­sult on their pro­pos­als.

The spokesper­son said: ‘As part of this process, a draft taxi tar­iff was pro­posed in De­cem­ber 2016 and pub­lished on the coun­cil’s web­site. Mem­bers of the pub­lic had un­til early Jan­uary 2017 to re­spond.

‘ While the draft tar­iff pro­posed was an in­crease of 10 pence per run­ning mile at tar­iff 1 bring­ing it to £1.50 per mile, as a re­sult of writ­ten rep­re­sen­ta­tions re­ceived from some mem­bers of the taxi trade and fur­ther sub­mis­sions to the com­mit­tee at the meet­ing on Fe­bru­ary 7 by trade mem­bers who at­tended, the com­mit­tee de­cided a higher in­crease to £1.80 per mile was jus­ti­fied.’

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