Taxi drivers in Glasgow have seen fares go up by almost 20% as they continue to battle rising costs.
The move comes after it was revealed that taxi drivers in the city had lost up to £5,000 a year as a result of the pandemic, with lost revenue and rising costs contributing to the deficit.
As part of a review of tariffs from February, 2021, to September, 2022, Glasgow City Council was asked to increase minimum fares across the city by 19.36% to help drivers cope with rising costs. If followed an increase of less than 1% which was introduced last month.
But as the city’s black cab drivers facing soaring costs know, the latest increase doesn’t represent a 20% wage increase and many of the city’s cabbies are struggling.
Robert McLean, of Glasgow Taxi Ltd, told Glasgow Live that the trade is facing a “difficult and challenging” time.
He said: “There is no doubt a significant increase is required.” But he stressed most of the rise will go on taxi insurance, maintenance and other costs with only a ‘small’ pay rise.
After the council approved the increase, the minimum fare is to rise from £3.40 to £4. The £4 fee is for a distance not exceeding 886 yards and a time not exceeding two minutes 46 seconds.
The time charge is to be changed from an increment of 20p to 30p. The time unit is increasing from 33 seconds to 42 seconds.
And the soiling charge – which is paid by passengers who are sick in a cab – is to increase from £35 to £42.
Night-time additional fees are also rising from £1.20 to £1.40 after 11pm and before 6am.
The rise followed recommendations by Dr James Cooper, of Taxi Research Partners, who carried out the review on behalf of the council.
Dr Cooper told the licensing and regulatory committee that the night-time charge is to encourage more taxi drivers to work those hours.
The 19.36% increase comes after a 0.84% rise was introduced to fares in January, which also saw the soiling charge rise from £23.50 to £35. At the time, Steven Grant, of the Unite union, called for the charge to be increased. He told Glasgow Live: “I don’t think £23.50 reflects the cost of cleaning out your car, it can take you off the road for hours on end and might actually finish the night if it’s vomit.”
In addition to rising costs, drivers in the city are also being steered towards greener vehicles to comply with Glasgow’s low emissions zone.
New standards being introduced on June 1 mean taxi drivers must either buy new, emissions-compliant vehicles or retrofit existing black cabs.
But taxi operators who do not have access to funded retrofit solutions to meet the lower emissions requirements have been given extra time to prepare, and they now have until June 1, 2024 to meet the new standards.
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