Councillor takes swipe at Falkirk taxi trade

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People hiring taxis should be able to swipe their bank cards to pay for the fare, according to a councillor.

The move would be a safety measure for people who run out of cash and find themselves stranded.

But a taxi driver said it would be unlikely to find favour with many in the trade.

The call by Councillor 
Robert Spears for cabs to have equipment fitted to allow the use of debit and credit cards came at the first meeting of Falkirk Council’s new executive committee. Members were being asked to rubberstamp a list of recommendations to update and improve the taxi trade locally.

Mr Spears said: “Installing swipe card machines would give parents peace of mind that their youngster would get home safely – even if they run out of cash. You could give them a card that you knew there was money on to use in emergencies.

“As a council we need to be doing what we can to ensure that people get home safely.”

Council leader, Councillor Craig Martin, said: “You have raised a valid point and we will ask officers to come back with options.”

However, taxi driver Ian Wotherspoon (68) said he had never been asked for the service in the 16 years he has been driving a taxi.

He said: “There are a few cars that already have the machines, probably those are the seven-seaters. But it is not something that I think many drivers, particularly the independent ones, would want.

“If someone asks you to take them only as far as their cash will go, you’re not going to drop them off two miles from home. Most drivers would take them to the door to ensure they get there.”