Taxi drivers granted permission to charge double over festive period

Falkirk Council approved proposals to double the usual £3 tariff for festive journeys in a bid to attract more taxi drivers.

Falkirk taxi firms are hoping that higher fares over the festive period will entice drivers to work at Christmas and New Year.

A shortage of drivers during the peak time for the trade led to calls from members of the taxi trade to allow them to double the usual £3 tariff for festive journeys.

After a public consultation, the proposals were finally agreed by Falkirk Council’s executive on Tuesday.

Other public holidays will no longer have increased fares, while Christmas and New Year will be subject to a new rate.

The new tariff will be £6, rather than the usual £3 for the first 880 yards, or £3.75 for journeys between 9pm and 6am.

For every additional 171 yards or 57 seconds, or a combination of time and distance, there is a charge of 20p.

The new “festive” tariff will apply from 9pm on Christmas Eve to 6am on December 27 and 9pm on December 31 to 6am on January 3.

Members also agreed a big increase in charges that drivers can make for soilage, which will now be £100, despite concerns that the charge could affect parents travelling with children.

Chief governance office, Colin Moodie, told members that it was important to note that it is “not a mandatory charge” but something that could be exercised with discretion.

He said there was a recognisable difference between an adult being sick in the back of a taxi, “after a long night out”, and a child being sick during the day.

But he added that the substantial increase was felt to be necessary by the trade to act as a deterrent, as drivers stand to lose an entire shift if the taxi must stop operating until professionally valeted.

The changes approved by the council were the suggestion of the local Taxi Forum. However, the consultation highlighted that some drivers are unhappy at the prospect of losing extra payment on public holidays.

One said: “Public holidays are generally quieter so the tariff 2 makes up for any lost revenue. As for Xmas and new year a higher tariff won’t make any more drivers come out and work as we all want to spend time with family like everyone else does at this time of year.”

Some drivers were also concerned that it is already difficult to get a £40 soilage fee from passengers.

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