Falkirk councillors have given their support to proposals aimed at altering taxi tariffs within the region. The changes include increasing the cost of cab rides during the Christmas period and doubling the charge for soiling a vehicle to £100.
The proposals, which were developed in collaboration with the local taxi forum, will now be open to public input.
Since the last increase in September 2022, where fares were adjusted due to rising fuel costs, there are currently no plans to raise general fares despite inflation felt in the overall economy. However, there have been calls to increase charges during the festive season to encourage more drivers to work and cater to increased customer demand.
The executive heard recommendations from the drivers' consultation that suggested removing additional charges for most public holidays altogether. If implemented, this would mean that the cost of taxis on Easter, May Day, Falkirk Trades Fair, and the Falkirk September holiday would no longer be more expensive compared to regular days. Instead, a new rate of time and a half would only apply during the Christmas and New Year public holidays.
The proposed dates and times for the revised tariff are set from 9pm on Christmas Eve to 6am on 27 December, and from 9pm on 31 December to 6am on 3 January. By introducing these changes, the taxi forum aims to strike a balance that meets both driver and passenger demands during the holiday season.
Additionally, the forum has recommended increasing the soiling charge from £40 to £100. This change is motivated by the fact that the existing charge fails to cover the costs of vehicle valeting, including the loss of income incurred while the car is out of service for cleaning purposes.
Furthermore, the taxi forum has proposed introducing a £5 charge for larger capacity vehicles engaged for more than four passengers or carrying bulky items such as luggage or golf clubs. These charges are seen as necessary due to the higher operational costs associated with running larger vehicles, which makes such journeys economically unfavourable.
It is important to note that this charge would not be applicable to wheelchair users, ensuring that accessible transport remains unaffected by the proposed changes.
Now that the Executive has approved the proposals, members of the public and local businesses will have the opportunity to provide their comments and opinions. Unless significant comments are received, the new fare scales and charges will go into effect from midnight on 1 December. However, should comments be received, a further report will be presented to the Executive for discussion and consideration of any necessary adjustments.