The leader of an Aberdeen cabbies group has called for the abolition of the city’s taxi licence waiting list.
Graeme McColl, chairman of the Aberdeen Taxi Group (ATG), said a proposal to raise the current limit by 30 would not go far enough towards meeting demand.
Mr McColl spoke out as members of Aberdeen City Council’s licensing committee prepared to discuss a report by CTS Traffic and Transportation, which lists several proposals.
An option to increase the number of licences from the current limit of 1,049 to 1,079 is reported to be the favoured suggestion.
However, Mr McColl said many of the 150 people currently on the waiting list for a taxi licence in Aberdeen were already private hire or rental car drivers applying to become “yellow plate” or “hackney” taxis – and that shifting them over would not lead to more drivers.
He added that another option proposed by CTS Traffic and Transportation – to completely remove the cap and allow everyone on the waiting list to be granted licenses – would be preferable.
Mr McColl said: “The 30 is not enough. There are two options being considered. One is to lift the limit completely.
“You can’t magic up the taxi drivers, it doesn’t actually matter if they lift the cap. There are not going to be more taxi drivers, these drivers are just going to have a hackney car and a hackney plate.
“Lifting the limit is a good thing but lifting by 30 is not. They should lift the cap by the amount on the waiting list at minimum and give all these people the opportunity or have a complete lift on the waiting list.”
CTS Traffic and Transportation was chosen by the council to research the demand for taxis in Aberdeen, particularly at weekends.
The organisation’s figures have shown the number of passengers has risen to 34,095 to 13,427 in the past three years.
George Street and Harbour councillor, Nathan Morrison, said: “If you go to get a taxi at the weekend you expect a wait of at least two hours. Allowing another 30 taxis shouldn’t be enough to have a serious impact on the existing drivers, but it’ll make a difference to people waiting.”