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Abandoned car sat at taxi rank for days while LEZ-compliant tow truck was found

The exterior of Glasgow Central railway station in Scotland. UK.

Taxi drivers and other motorists face fines for driving polluting vehicles in the heart of Glasgow city centre – but they no doubt raised a smile after an abandoned car was left for days at a taxi rank while the council waited for an LEZ-compliant recovery truck to remove it.

From June 2023, older, more polluting cabs – petrol cars manufactured before 2006 and diesels made before 2015 – were banned from the city’s Low Emissions Zone, with only newer, cleaner vehicles being allowed to enter.

Penalties

While other charging schemes allow drivers of non-compliant vehicles to pay a daily fee to use LEZ and ULEZ areas, drivers in Glasgow receive a penalty charge and must pay £60 a day. The level of the fine doubles with each additional fixed-penalty notice up to a maximum of £480 for cars.

Due to the expense of having to switch vehicles before they had planned to, taxi drivers were given another year to change to newer vehicles, with grants also available to help meet the extra costs.

But the cost-of-living crisis saw the price of new vehicles shoot up, and demand to retro-fit existing taxis was so great that it quickly wiped out the allocation of funding for the scheme, leaving drivers of non-compliant vehicles with few options.

Despite protests from the city’s taxi drivers, Glasgow City Council stuck to its guns and the Scottish Daily Express reports that the council has issued £4 million in fines in the first year of operation.

Unintended consequences

But the tough stance has also seen the council almost fall foul of its own anti-pollution measures after an abandoned car was left at the city’s Central Station taxi rank for four days – because the council’s LEZ-compliant vehicle-lifting truck was unavailable.

The council did the right thing in waiting for a contractor with a compliant vehicle to remove the car, otherwise it would have broken its own rules and would have had to fine itself. Just imagine the headlines!

While the irony of the situation was not lost on many of the city’s cabbies, the incident also raised serious issues, which were highlighted by the Unite union’s Glasgow Cab Section.

A spokesman told Glasgow Live the council “told the taxi trade we’d had long enough to prepare for the LEZ when they hadn’t done so themselves.

“On top of that, they left an abandoned car on a taxi rank outside Scotland’s busiest train stations for four days. Surely a security risk in itself.”

Delay

After photos of the black Toyota Auris blocking a space in the rank were shared by the union on social media, the spokesman noted: “Suddenly a sub-contractor turned up to remove it”.

A council spokeswoman said: “The vehicle has been removed and we apologise for the delay.

“The council has one LEZ compliant uplift vehicle as part of our fleet, which is entirely proportionate given the zone area covers one square mile.

“In the event our own vehicle is unavailable, an external contractor is authorised to uplift vehicles on our behalf.”

The council did everything in line with its own rules, but this situation highlights the frustration taxi drivers in the city feel with regard to the LEZ scheme.

All information is correct at time of publication. Information provided within this article may have changed over time. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by John Patons Insurance Services or any of its employees.

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Clean Air Zones