Dumfries taxi drivers asked not to refuse rural journeys
Councillors in Dumfries are appealing to taxi drivers to stop turning down out-of-town fares and are considering bringing in a ban which would prevent cabbies refusing rural fares.
Many are frustrated that taxi drivers prefer to take shorter journeys and won’t take passengers out of town or pick up in rural areas.
However, authorities are concerned that many people from rural areas who go out at night in the town are being left stranded or having to make do with being dropped off quite a distance from their homes by taxi drivers who don’t want to travel further.
The government in Scotland have recently launched a consultation on Taxi and Private Hire Car Licensing and authorities in Dumfries have raised the issue of rural fares as part of this process.
The safety of young people at night, councilor Gill Dykes argues, should be considered by taxi firms in the area. “It’s too dangerous. We need to stop this practice, particularly if it’s a festive time of year,” she said.
“Taxi drivers need to understand that if someone wants to travel out of town they have to take them home. They can’t just drop them off half way and say they’re not going any further. We need regulation to prevent this kind of thing from happening.”
Longer Journeys Mean Larger Taxi Fares
It seems that taxi drivers in the town agree and many are prepared to take passengers out of town. However, some point out that longer journey mean larger fares, which some passengers don’t want to pay.
“If taxi drivers aren’t prepared to go out of town people should report it. I take everyone who comes along, said David McCubbin of DM Taxis. I think the council is doing the right thing.”
“Sometimes people want to go out of town but they don’t want to pay the money when they get there. As long as they show you they have the money beforehand it’s not a problem. It’s not like you can go to the cash machine if it’s a rural area.”
Mark Melbourne of Premier Taxis says that while he won’t turn down longer journeys and, in some cases, prefers longer journeys. “If someone comes up to you and wants to be taken out the town you do it,” he said, “At the end of the day that’s our job, sometimes the bigger the better. There’s not enough jobs in the town to refuse any.”
But there are many drivers who turn down longer fares and this taxi driver, who didn’t wish to be named said:
“I know some taxi drivers who do refuse longer journeys. If people are too drunk that’s the only time I wouldn’t take them.”
What are your thoughts on this issue – would you turn down fares in this current economic climate?