A TAXI fare price hike could put women at risk as they would have to walk home late at night, an MSP has argued.
Kezia Dugdale, a Labour MSP and Shadow Youth Employment Minister, has spoke out against the price hike in Edinburgh, saying that it could lead to more women opting to walk home alone when they are “at their most vulnerable”.
The current baseline fee for night-time taxis in Edinburgh is £3, but the new fares will see the base fee jump up to £4.60 between midnight and 5 am throughout the week.
Night-time taxi fares have already increased in Glasgow’s city centre to £4.60, and this “party tariff” is set to be approved in Edinburgh.
Dugdale fears that the increased fares will mean more people will choose to walk home home instead, leaving women in particular at risk.
She said: “The consequences would undeniably be fewer women getting in taxis and more women walking home.
“The chances are they are not going to be doing that with other women.
“We will get more women walking the streets on their own and it will make them vulnerable.
“You shouldn’t have to feel vulnerable walking the streets of the Capital on a Saturday night but that’s the position they would be put in.
“The reality is that Edinburgh is not a safe place to walk at that time of night on your own.”
Ms Dugdale’s worries have been echoed by anti-street harassment campaign, Hollaback, which said that many people choose to take a taxi out of fear of harassment.
A spokeswoman said: “Getting a bus after 11pm often is not a real alternative to a cab since it involves waiting around at dark bus stops by yourself for up to half an hour.”
These latest fare proposals come just under two years after the previous price rises, and are apparently to try to encourage more drivers to work past midnight.
Raymond Davidson, secretary of the Edinburgh Taxi Association said that a more expensive tariff would persuade more taxi drivers to cover the “late-night rush hour,” particularly at weekends.
He said: “The reason behind it is to give drivers a bit of an incentive to stay out later and help get revellers home.
“We don’t yet know how much it could be raised by but I don’t think it would be a huge increase.
“I suppose if we give it the go-ahead we will look like the bad guys and it’s fair to say that it’s likely young people and students will be affected.”