Belfast gets brand-new taxi 'flag down' policies as Uber provides free trips
14th July, 2016
New policies imply that this weekend there will be more taxis the general public can flag down on Belfast streets than ever. A modification to the law means that previously personal hire only cabs will be able to choose people up straight off the street, as opposed to customers needing to have actually scheduled a taxi.
Previously personal hire taxis can now operate as public hire from midnight on Friday and Saturday up until 6am each following early morning.
Belfast's newest taxi operator, the international huge Uber, does not have a license to run as public hire at anytime. For that reason customers still have to book. Instead the company is providing free trips to individuals over the weekend, which likewise marks the sixth month anniversary since its launch. Since launch the company now boasts of over 200 drivers on its books and that one in 10 Belfast individuals use its app.
From 6am today until 4am Monday, Uber users will get 10 off their ride, implying most short distance journeys could be complimentary. It's the most recent quote for custom in the significantly tense battle ground that is the city's taxi industry. Cabs have actually been seen around the town advertising that they "do not do surging" in reaction to Uber's controversial policy of increasing the rate as need increases. Social media network are also a buzz with rival drivers keen to highlight each others' failings.
Formerly Fona Cab owner William McCausland has stated the arrival of Uber was a "big threat" however, was confident his 600-strong fleet could match the competition. He told the Belfast Telegraph his firm had actually invested some 300,000 in preparation for the new tax laws which also see cars being fitted with meters and printers as well as advertising fixed costs. He was not available for comment yesterday. Some in the market think the new policies will lead to confusion among the general public.
Belfast Public Hire Taxis representative Gerry Maxwell stated: "It it isn’t broke do not fix it.
"Chaos and havoc are possibly too strong words to use, however you will have everybody contending for a fare. "When they composed the brand-new laws, it was fit for purpose then, but not now in 2016. It was rushed
"I've been taxing for 32 years, both as private and public hire. I'm a follower that everyone must adhere to their own guidelines. "That the general public hire can select individuals off the street and the private hire are provided work from their depot - that's exactly what their drivers pay for. "Drivers are likewise expense around 1,500 to pay for the equipment, which will increase fares at a time we are attempting to decrease ours . People believe our fares are more costly than private hire - however they are wrong, we charge exactly the same as a private hire taxi. "There are no winners in this, the motorists, the firms and the punters all lose."