February 20, 2019
Edinburgh black cab drivers have met with union officials following concerns among the trade over council emission targets and so-called pirate operators.
Taxi drivers claim there are fears in the Scottish capital over issues ranging from ‘pirate’ operators making fares from illegal pick-ups to new emission guidelines introduced by the local council.
Concerned Cabbies in Capital
The Edinburgh cabbies are worried their taxis may be forced off the road as new emission guidelines are being put in place with council city officials backing environmental targets.
Regional Industrial Officer for Unite, Mark Lyon, said: “There’s a crisis facing the taxi trade in Edinburgh.
“The meeting involving Unite Scotland was very positive and was attended by hundreds across the different sectors in the trade.
“A number of key issues were discussed including illegal plying for hire, no dedicated inspectors to deter pirating, and the massive costs associated with the council’s emissions policy.
“As such, the drivers present resolved to work together by creating a new Unite branch, to initiate an organising campaign to put pressure on the relevant authorities and to drive up standards.”
A report last year by The Evening News discussed the topic over how around half of Edinburgh’s taxis face being pulled off the road due to an emissions cull.
Black Cabs Facing Replacement
Under a new Edinburgh City Council policy, all black cabs over ten years old will need to be replaced by 2020.
Cabbies state the council’s plan to meet new emissions guidelines will result in many having to quit the trade as a £28.3 million upgrade bill is put in place.
Mr Lyon said Unite had been made aware of the rise of non-licensed or ‘pirate’ operators.
Les McVay of City Cabs welcomed the union’s involvement and said: “We’re in favour of coming together under the banner of Unite.
Air Pollution Concerns
Councillor Catherine Fullerton, Licensing Sub-Committee Convener, said the emissions standards and 2020 replacement for all hackney and private hire taxis had been agreed last year.
Ms. Fullerton said: “Air pollution is a real concern in Edinburgh and other cities around the country, and this is something the council is working to address through a range of measures, including plans to introduce a Low Emissions Zone.”
Councillor Fullerton said taxi firm representatives voiced their concerns over the plans during meetings. The city council has taken into consideration the views of those in the taxi trade.
She commented: “These were reflected in changes made by the Licensing Sub-Committee and include setting out a 10-year instead of a five-year age limit originally proposed as well as extending the life of taxis which are converted to less polluting engines.”