Taxi fares will rise 7% in the new year, councillors have ruled.
Members of Aberdeen City Council’s licensing committee voted for the hike at a meeting yesterday – but not all of them were happy.
Two members expressed concern the cost increase would put people off using taxis and that it was only 18 months since the last rise.
But the majority felt the extra takings would help taxi drivers cover rising costs.
Passengers are currently charged £2.40 for the first 950 yards and then 20p for every additional 180.5yds.
That will rise on January 29 to £2.60 for the first 940yds, with 20p then charged for every 160yds travelled.
Before tabling the idea, council officers met taxi drivers and a report noted they were “generally happy” with the idea of an increase.
Rainbow City Taxis managing director Russell McLeod told the Evening Express: “It is a fair increase.
“The drivers have been subsidising costs for the last five years with no rise to compensate.”
Only one – anonymous – person contributed to a new council consultation, opposing it.
At yesterday’s meeting councillor Steve Delaney said: “We put this out to consultation and the taxi drivers themselves are mixed with their responses.
“The previous fare increase was fairly recently. Fares in Aberdeen are high compared to some other cities.
“Some other drivers are quite concerned people will use taxis less if they start costing more.”
Councillor Philip Bell said: “Taxi drivers have been chipping away, attempting to get fare increases for over a year now.
“It started off last year with a proposed credit/debit card surcharge, then there was a proposed rate increase, then there was a request to increase fares at the weekend because that would entice drivers out. Now there is a 7% request for increase due to the cost of living. Increases for cost of living are nowhere near 7% and people I speak to say taxis are way too expensive.
“What a waste of having this resource in our city.”
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
The council’s trainee solicitor Karen Gatherum said the council is legally obliged to review taxi fares every 18 months and they went up 6% 18 months ago.
She said there had been “a fault” in the council had been provided with outdated information about the cost of maintaining a taxi – and the 7% rise would put that right.
The council’s solicitor Sandy Munro said: “From a legal basis, we have to be careful because these are discussions that should have been had at the last meeting at which the committee discussed this issue.
“We agreed at that meeting to advertise a 7% increase and having done that we have only received one representation.
“Councillor Bell has said taxi drivers don’t want it – they haven’t told us.
“We have followed the process and if we change our mind now it would be highly vulnerable to appeal.”
Councillor Tauqeer Malik said: “It would be very difficult if we don’t agree the increase today because there was no opposition to it at the last meeting.”
The committee’s convener John Reynolds proposed the 7% increase, which won the vote by seven to two.
Councillor Yvonne Allan said: “Prior to this one letter we’ve had opposing the increase, we had full support from the taxi organisation for the city.
“They commended what we put forward that day and I certainly don’t think we can back down on it now because they are not saying ‘no, don’t do it’.
“At this stage in the game I don’t think we have the right to withdraw this when it what the taxi drivers are expecting.”