Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Fears lack of late night taxis in Aberdeen is hitting trade for city centre firms

There is a shortage of taxis in Aberdeen at night. Image: Jim Irvine.
There is a shortage of taxis in Aberdeen at night. Image: Jim Irvine.

An Aberdeen city centre campaigner believes a lack of taxis is now driving a downturn in sales and leaving people stranded in a potentially vulnerable state.

Taxi operators have lost around a quarter of drivers during the lockdowns with some going into other work or retirement.

This has resulted in waiting times of more than an hour for those waiting for a taxi at night in the city.

Roulè Wood, manager at Aberdeen Inspired, believes this lack of transport is causing people to travel home earlier and spend less time and money in the city.

It is also resulting in people choosing to walk home alone and often in a vulnerable state.

What are your experiences like trying to get a late night taxi in Aberdeen? Let us know in the comments below.

Worries for people walking home in vulnerable state

Mrs Wood herself was left frustrated after trying to book a taxi in advance for 11pm on Saturday night from three different operators with “no success”.

Eventually, she and her friends got their partners to collect them after being told the earliest they could expect to get a taxi was at 2am. However, she said not everyone has that option.

Roulè Wood, Manager of Aberdeen Inspired. Image: Shutter77.

The mother-of-two, who lives in the city centre, said she is usually able to walk home and has been “struck” by the increasingly winding queues for taxis.

Mrs Wood says the lack of available taxis is an issue that often comes up in Aberdeen Inspired meetings.

“This is a real concern for businesses,” she said. “Pubs are reporting that customers are leaving at 9pm or earlier because they don’t want to get caught out in the late night taxi queues or be stranded.

“The police have fed back to us in meetings, where I have been present, that there is an issue of anti-social behaviour escalating, because people are getting frustrated in taxi queues.

“There is an issue of concern over people giving up and wandering off and deciding to walk home, when they’re perhaps not in the best state.”

Picture of Sergeant Andy Sawers on Belmont Street speaking to Street Pastors. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

Aberdeen Street Pastors, partly funded by Aberdeen Inspired, who support people at night in the city try to help those in this situation.

Run by volunteers, Mrs Wood said they are a “positive presence on the high street” and help to offer a safe space for people to seek help.

Businesses ‘battling on every front’

She added the lack of a transport is having a negative impact on businesses just as the footfall in the city centre has increased in recent months.

Mrs Wood said: “I worry we’re missing out on opportunities because people are going home earlier.

“We’re battling on every front. We’re battling online shopping, we’re battling people still being worried about being out in in busy places because of Covid.

“It’s hugely important. It’s not just the people coming into the shops and the bars and restaurants, it’s also the staff that have to work. They need a safe, reliable option to get home at night.”

After speaking to taxi operators, Mrs Wood said it appears the lack of new drivers is a big problem.

An added hurdle is having to complete a knowledge test which takes three to four years, which could prove to be a barrier for a young person.

This coupled with the driver shortage with First Bus, who have in the past offered a night bus service, has caused more of a strain on night time transport.

Managing director of Rainbow City Taxis, Russell McLeod, said recruitment issues are facing the whole taxi industry.

He said: “There’s been a reduction in taxis since Covid, that’s for sure, but we’re not alone in that, everybody’s struggling to recruit. The numbers are slowly now starting to climb back up.”

“They’ve been complaining about having to wait when the nightclubs come out since day dot. Every nightclub empties at 3am and with the greatest will in the world, that’s going to take an hour to clear.”

Pilot service to help people get home safe over Christmas

A consultation with taxi operators and the public was held earlier this year to try and help alleviate issues.

An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: “Following consultation with the trade and the public, the licensing committee reviewed criteria to ensure that standards were maintained without proving an insurmountable barrier to those seeking to enter the trade.

More people will be travelling to the city over the festive period. Image: Wullie Marr/ DCT Media

“It is not in our power to require licensed drivers to operate at any given time. The licence allows them to work as a taxi/private hire driver, it does not compel them to do so.”

Mrs Wood said Aberdeen Inspired along with Aberdeen City Council and Stagecoach are hoping to pilot a night bus service during the Christmas period.

When asked about the issue, a spokesman for First Aberdeen said: “While we do not currently offer a late-night bus service in Aberdeen, we remain open minded about offering this service in future.

“We are unable to provide any additional late-night services at the moment as we continue to contend with industry-wide driver shortages and focus our resources on ensuring our core services are delivered.

“We will continue to review the opportunities available to us as the driver number situation improves.”