Angry taxi drivers are blaming Falkirk Council for failing to ensure their taxi meters were set correctly for public holiday rates.
The drivers say they are out of pocket because of the oversight that led to meter companies not being provided with the dates of holiday Mondays in May, July and September when drivers, through the automatic meter setting, are able to charge the standard fare plus another 25 per cent on top.
Stenhouse Taxi driver John Kennedy said: “This is affecting the livelihood of every taxi driver in the area and we have now worked two local holidays without any increase on tariff.
“The council’s solution is to give us letters to show the customer, saying we are entitled to charge extra on holidays. Can you imagine the abuse we will receive from customers?
“Or their response when we ask for extra - something which should automatically show on the meter but does not due to the council’s mistake.”
However, in a briefing to councillors Falkirk Council stated responsibility for the taxi meters rests with the taxi operators themselves, although Falkirk Council’s licensing section had been providing assistance to the trade over the years.
This may have led some operators to expect the licensing authority to deal with matters, like taxi meters, which are strictly the operators’ responsibility.
A council spokesperson said: “We are aware of these issues and are assisting the taxi trade to have their meters adjusted and resealed. The meters are owned by the license holder who is also responsible for the accuracy of the meter which includes taxi tariffs and public holiday dates.”
Councillor David Alexander tried to raise the issue at a meeting of Falkirk Council last week - but his request to hold a debate was refused.
He said: “It is my understanding the cost to the council to remedy this error is around £3000, where as the cost for the trade to undertake this would be a collective figure of £13,000.”
It is a condition of a Falkirk Council taxi operator licence that the licence holder have a meter which has been tested and approved by the licensing authority. These meters are owned by the taxi operator.
Taxi drivers are also entitled to charge over and above the standard fare when they pick up passengers during “unsocial hours” - from 9pm to 6am - when they can add 25 per cent onto the standard fare.
Fares are also increased over the festive period.