Glasgow’s taxi fares could be set to rise again next year after the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland ordered a review into the city’s fares scale.
Commissioner Joan Aitken upheld an appeal by taxi driver Thomas McMahon, who claimed a 2.49 per cent increase, introduced in March this year, was based on flawed and outdated information.
Mr McMahon argued that Glasgow City Council had breached contemporaneity rules after it took more than 18 months to implement changes recommended in a 2016 review by Dr James Cooper.
Upholding the appeal, Ms Aitken said: “It did appear as if the council had lost control of the statutory timetable, and that the review was based on data for years previous.
“I commend Mr McMahon for his appeal for he has succeeded in exposing that the council had slipped from compliance and had engaged in a review which was fundamentally flawed.
“I expressed at the hearing that I had never come across a council using such historic figures to fix fares for the period ahead. The taxi fares scales are those for the 18 months ahead and so required to have some contemporaneity to them.”
A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “We accept the findings of the Commissioner in this case. We are now working on a review of fares for taxis in Glasgow with the aim of having a new fare scale in place as soon as possible.”
Calum Anderson, chairman of Unite the Union’s Glasgow Cab Section, agreed with Mr McMahon’s appeal but said it came at the wrong time.
He added: “Everyone agrees the current formula is flawed, complicated, and counterproductive.
“A long overdue review is due next year and going forward the Cab Section would like to see the tariff calculated annually using a combination of the consumer price index and the retail price index.
“We feel this would simplify matters and do away with appeals that can prove so costly to all concerned.”
Stephen Flynn, chairman of Glasgow Taxis, said: “We will continue to work with the council to ensure we get a fair deal for both drivers and customers.”
The Legal Bit
The power to set taxi fares are outlined in section 17 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982. Under the 1982 Act, Scottish councils are required to make price changes within 18 months of a fare scale review.
Section 18 of the Act sets out the rights of appeal in respect of taxi fares.
We have previously reported on an English case that is helpful for taxi drivers to understand generally, the correct approach their licensing authorities should take when setting fares.