Glasgow Taxis boss hits out at city council after Uber licence green light

Chairman of Glasgow Taxis Stephen Flynn poses for a photograph at the Glasgow Taxis offices Picture: Jamie Simpson

A TAXI boss has claimed the city council is harming one of Glasgow's most important businesses.

In a raft of criticisms, Glasgow Taxis chairman Stephen Flynn said the council is:

*handing out too many licences

*causing pollution in the city centre despite a policy to make Glasgow greener

*over-stretching its Taxi Enforcement Team

*Failing residents with too few ranks in the city and

*Should suspend granting licences while a city-wide survey of provision is underway.

Mr Flynn spoke out following Glasgow City Council's licensing committee awarding a new booking office licence to private hire app firm Uber.

As told in the Evening Times earlier this month, union Unite said it is considering reporting the council to the ombudsman over the decision.

Glasgow Taxis, Unite and the Greater Glasgow Private Hire Association all claim Uber's bookings will go through an office in Holland and not its Buchanan Street premises.

Uber strongly denies this.

Having a booking office in the city that directly deals with customers' bookings is one of the conditions of being granted a licence.

Mr Flynn said Glasgow Taxis has been in the city for more than five decades - but he worries for the firm's future in the face of council actions.

He said: "We try our best to help the city and sometimes we feel let down.

"As a company our first instinct is to make sure the people of Glasgow are safe and can travel in the safest way possible.

"I am worried about the where the taxi trade will go in the next 10 years because of council decisions being made now.

"The only people who suffer are the people of Glasgow."

Mr Flynn points to his company's ethos of corporate social responsibility, citing the annual taxi trip to Troon for additional needs children and support for the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice.

Glasgow Taxis also pays £58,000 each year towards the NightZone in Glasgow City Centre, manned ranks helping people get home from nights out.

Glasgow City Council has commissioned a survey looking at unmet demand in the city.

Mr Flynn added: "The council wants less vehicles in the city centre for environmental reasons and yet it gave out another 1000 licences last year.

"There could be another 500 licences given out between now and the unmet demand survey.

"And what will happen if the results of the survey show the city is at saturation point? It can't ask for licences back.

"The city is at saturation point.

"It's not about competition, it's about following the rules and regulations."

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said the council works closely with the taxi trade and "understands a number of their concerns."

However, he added: “All decisions in relation to the taxi and private hire car trade are made entirely in accordance with the rules that govern the Licensing and Regulatory Committee, as set out in the Civic Government Scotland Act.

“We have initiated an independent assessment of whether demand for taxis and private hire cars is unmet by the current provision of drivers and vehicles in the city.

"It would be wrong and unlawful of the council to prejudge the findings of that independent assessment."

He said the Taxi Enforcement Team is meeting its current targets and carried out 8000 roadside inspections and deals with 1000 complaints from the public.

The spokesman added: "The council wants the city centre to be used by cleaner and fewer vehicles and has updated its vehicle standards to allow the use of suitable low emission and electric vehicles for the taxi and private hire car trade.

“We are in regular dialogue with the taxi trade about the provision of taxi ranks in the city and adjust their location as circumstances demand."

from Taxi Leaks