Dundee cabbies have branded the council’s plans to replace discounts for disabled people with a minibus service an “insult to taxi drivers”.
Graeme Stephen, the city’s Taxi Association chairman, said the new scheme would take work away from drivers who will, in turn, take business away from colleagues as competition for fares increases.
Taxi driver Erik Thoresen has written to council leader John Alexander to clarify how the minibus service would be funded and how much it would cost.
A report on the local authority’s revenue budget estimated scrapping the Taxicard scheme, which entitled users to £2 off journeys, would save £150,000 per year, of which £50,000 is pledged to be reinvested into the minibus initiative.
Mr Thoresen said: “Wheelchair accessible vehicle operators were to be given funding for putting on these vehicles.
“It was then withdrawn and the money was to go into the Taxicard scheme.
“Now they are stopping this. Their taxi policy has been nonsense for many years as the whole trade knows this.
“This scheme will take away a source of income which is badly needed by taxi drivers in this city.
“This, overall, is seen as an insult to taxi drivers who have been doing a great service to the community and Taxicard holders and their families.”
Mr Stephen added: “The Taxicard scheme guaranteed a fair bit of work for taxi drivers around Dundee.
“That work will now no longer be there and it will be the equivalent of there being too many taxi vehicles in the city.
“The drivers who no longer have the Taxicard passengers will be competing with other drivers for work.
“Minibus travel won’t suit everyone and what will happen is they’ll call an ambulance if they need to get to a hospital appointment.”
Mr Alexander could not be reached by the time of going to press, but he had previously said the minibus initiative, which would use the council’s own fleet of vehicles, would “provide a better all-round service”.
He had added that the service would be not-for-profit and would mean taxpayers’ money is spent “more wisely”.
The council will stop funding the Taxicard Scheme from March 31.