Shortage of taxis and private hire cars in Glasgow affecting night economy


Pub and nightclub bosses in Glasgow say the evening economy is suffering after the lockdown as it is not easy to get around the city at night.

Concerns have been raised that less night transport is preventing people from visiting pubs, bars and restaurants due to a lack of bus services, taxi drivers or private hire vehicles.

READ MORE: Glasgow taxi fares are rising – as are the charges for being sick in a taxi

Members of the licensing trade also say they are seeing fewer customers in their venues due to covid-related stress.

The issue was raised by Billy Gold of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association at the local licensing forum this afternoon, who told members that a rebuilding process was needed across the country.

Mr Gold said: ‘At the moment there are no night buses so Glasgow is not an easy city to get around. I know from my personal point of view that many clients who come from other parts of the city do not come to us because they are afraid of not being able to return home.

“They’re fine getting there, but the way back is a problem and they’re finding it horribly difficult to get home.

“It affects people wanting to go to the theater or go to bars and restaurants that are not on their doorstep. It is certainly an issue and it may not be within the purview of the board or even the forum , but within the larger framework of building a modern city, we really need to think about modes of transport and mobility for the safety and convenience of our customers.

“The easy answer for them right now is don’t go out or go somewhere that isn’t local. We can do everything we can to make our sites more appealing to customers, but s ‘they don’t feel able to move around the city safely or easily, it will have a negative impact on us.

Mr Gold also pointed out that people have found other ways to have fun during lockdown and have gotten into the habit of not going out.

He added: “One of the issues is customer trust and feedback. Although most restrictions have been lifted, mitigation measures are still in place.

“Vites are always responsible and they try to do their best to make sure their building is as safe as possible.”

Licensing manager Mairi Millar agreed that changing cultural habits meant people weren’t going out like they did before the pandemic.

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She also pointed out that members of the taxi and ride-hailing industry have now found alternative employment as delivery drivers.

She said: “There are still problems, even though the restrictions have disappeared. We must seek to send a positive message at the local government level.

“As far as licenses are concerned, in terms of taxi and private rental car applications, we are certainly doing everything we can to get any new license applications through the system as quickly as possible by authorizing them.

“The reality is that it’s not an industry that attracts new people and we’ve had a hard time retaining drivers because they leave to do other things.

“A lot of ride-hailing companies have moved into other businesses like Deliveroo or Uber Eats and it’s hard to get them back. It’s not unique to Glasgow, but it’s part of a wider transport strategy that we need to examine.”


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