Extra efforts are being made to find customer service trainers for Aberdeen’s cabbies amid a number of complaints.
Last September, Aberdeen City Council’s licensing committee asked officers to look into the potential for training drivers in customer service, disability awareness and using sat-navs.
A report to yesterday’s meeting said there “do not appear to be any local training providers” to deliver suitable courses that would cover all those subjects.
The report recommended the committee agree not to proceed with training.
However, councillors disagreed – especially as the council is dealing with six complaints alleging poor service from taxi drivers dating back to last October.
The committee’s convener, Councillor John Reynolds, said: “The tricky issue here is that training can be a real benefit for drivers but the cost must be met from the cost of taxi licences.
“The taxi trade have made it abundantly clear that the fees are already high and they wouldn’t want them increasing.”
The committee instructed the council’s licensing solicitor Sandy Munro to look for outside funding bodies, such as Scottish Enterprise, that would be able to give the council money to deliver a course.
It also asked Mr Munro to keep looking for training providers.
At the meeting, Mr Munro said: “We need to contact the likes of local colleges and see if they have any kind of training potential.
“I do know there are the likes of South Ayrshire Council that does a course via one of their colleges, so I can speak to them and see how they went about it.
“There are a couple (of local authorities) in Edinburgh who have a private company that do it for them. I can speak to those people.”
Meanwhile, the committee also voted in favour of a report’s recommendation to take no action on taxi ranks.
Consultants had written a report which put forward the suggestion of creating ones on Upperkirkgate and Guild Street and removing “largely unused” ranks on St Andrew’s Street and Dee Street.
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However, police were concerned a Guild Street rank could cause road safety concerns as it might impede traffic, and that a rank on Upperkirkgate could take away spaces meant for disabled drivers.
The report said ranks should not be removed if extra ones are not being opened – and the committee agreed.
At the meeting, Mr Munro said: “It would appear that both (proposed) ranks would be a no-go at this stage.”
Committee member councillor Steve Delaney asked why the St Andrew’s Street and Dee Street ranks cannot be closed if nobody is using them.
Mr Reynolds replied: “It’s a difficult issue.
“Taxi drivers don’t want to park on the street and if they can’t get on to ranks, they will choose a rank that isn’t used very much – St Andrew’s Street being a prime one.”
Mr Reynolds said ranks could be created close to Marischal College to allow people better access to the new Marriott Hotel.