Glasgow taxi fares will rise – as will the cost of being sick in a taxi
Taxi fares in Glasgow are set to rise next month – and businesses want a further increase after covid cut drivers’ incomes by around £5,000 a year.
Minor changes to fee schedules will be made as city licensing officials have agreed to a 0.84% increase.
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However, the soiling charge – paid, for example, when a passenger is ill in a taxi – is increased from £23.50 to £35.
The changes are made following a review of the period from February 2020 to February last year. The previous review led to increases of 3.08% compared to March 2021.
Covid-19 has left many drivers struggling and the situation has been exacerbated by rising costs, including for vehicles, fuels and maintenance.
Representatives from Glasgow Taxis and Unite’s Glasgow Cab Section have called for further fare changes, with one saying he was “not happy” with 0.84%.
Steven Grant, of Unite, had wanted to see the reintroduction of “extra” charges, for more than three passengers, to cover the cost of vehicle wear and tear.
Dr James Cooper of Taxi Research Partners Ltd, who carried out the review, recommended increasing the time and distance element of the taxi fare by 0.84%.
This means that £3.40 will be the maximum fare for a distance not exceeding 898 meters or a time not exceeding 2 minutes 51 seconds, instead of 904 meters and 2 minutes 52 seconds.
It will then cost you 20p for each additional 157 yards instead of 159.
However, Dr Cooper said ‘extras’ are a ‘quite brutal tool’ and did not recommend using them in Glasgow.
He added that costs had “significantly increased” since his analysis was concluded and called for a further review, for February 2021 to 2022, to “take into account significant price fluctuations”, which the committee agreed to.
“I want to express my understanding and sympathy for the job, it has been a very difficult time,” he said.
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Dr Cooper reported that there had been a very slight drop in the number of miles traveled by Glasgow taxis before June 2018, which then worsened “largely due to the rise of taxi-based alternatives apps”.
When the lockdown started there was a “very big drop”. He said drivers’ average earnings had fallen from £22,842 to £17,490.
He added that the decline in revenue would be compounded “after this review period by increases in other costs”.
Mr Grant said he was “not happy” with the 0.84 per cent rise but realized it was for the period to February 2021.
“It is quite concerning that we are looking at a review that has a start date two years ago. The model we are currently using is not at all responsive to the pressures we face in real time.
“Our VTC competitors have just significantly increased their prices to react to inflationary pressures.”
He asked for ‘extras’ to be added at 20p per person after the third person.
“Dundee is 50p per passenger after the first passenger, Edinburgh is 40p per passenger after the third passenger. This is to reflect wear and tear on the vehicle, fuel costs.
Dr Cooper believes the costs of carrying more passengers are better ‘placed in the fare’.
Robert McLean of Glasgow Taxis called for the soiling load to be increased, which was supported by committee advisers.
He also suggested that the 0.84% hike should be postponed until after the next review because of the costs involved for drivers, who have to have their meters changed.
“That could be up to £52 or thereabouts and 0.84% would take some time to recover.”
Mr Grant added: ‘I don’t think £23.50 reflects the cost of cleaning your car, it can take you off the road for hours and can even end up overnight if it’s vomit.
“You could lose a whole shift to this because you just can’t get rid of the smell.”