Taxi drivers in Glasgow are facing the perfect storm when it comes to rising costs, a need to invest in new vehicles and a tariff that has failed to follow inflation so far.
We talked to Allan Nugent of the newly formed Glasgow Taxi Owner’s Federation, to learn more about the problems and what can be done to help.
Glasgow taxi drivers are facing huge difficulties with their fleet of cabs. Can you explain why cabbies and operators are struggling?
The forthcoming LEZ implementation looming is putting most taxi drivers into real financial difficulty. There’s a real shortage of taxis now suitable for use within the LEZ boundaries in Glasgow - these include new and second-hand vehicles which can be retrofitted.
The retrofit itself is throwing up additional problems. We have found out that if the taxi for whatever reason is put off road - written off, doesn’t meet inspection criteria - the grant has to be repaid causing problems with insurance.
To rub salt into the wound, out of town taxis and PHVs entering the city seem to be exempt - as there’s no way to enforce this.
What other big issues are facing Glasgow taxi drivers at the moment?
A lot of City centre streets were pedestrianised during the pandemic and are now being left causing us to take a much longer route at parts, which is obviously being questioned by passengers. A few ranks were also taken away as part of the ‘temporary’ covid measures. They have yet to be reinstated.
Of the taxi ranks that remain, they have become increasingly inaccessible to taxis because of parking by every other vehicle except taxis.
This has been brought to the attention of Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council (GCC) traffic enforcement, but each seem to be blaming the other.
Taxi drivers in Glasgow received a 0.84% tariff increase recently. Is that enough?
The rise is an insult. We needed 17% to give us 10% on our income. Our costs are going through the roof.
Morale is extremely low in Glasgow as drivers are in real financial hardship - LEZ, high-tech cost of insurance and repairs on vehicles - not to mention a SQA in taxi driving that we must all sit at a cost of £395-495.
In comparison a lot of other Scottish councils have given much higher tariffs ranging between 5-20%.
What could be done to ensure the long-term future of the taxi industry in Glasgow?
The tariff needs to be recalculated with proper figures and thus set us up properly for the future.
LEZ needs to reassessed using current emissions data, not historical figures.
In our opinion Glasgow City Council are the worst in Scotland. We need what the Traffic Commissioner stated... a decent tariff so we can afford the price of new taxis. Our tariff is so low that the private hire prices are more expensive than us.