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It's your ECHO: A problem that's worth sorting out.

AS we move towards our Capital of Culture year and the expected influx of new visitors to the city, emphasis understandably turns to how we are viewed by newcomers.

This is our chance to make a good impression and this must be reflected in our shops, restaurants, hotels and taxis - all in the front line when it comes to dealing with tourists.

Mary Murtagh's article Shame of the cherry picking taxis in Monday's ECHO highlighted the problem of a minority of black cab and private hire drivers who are ripping off passengers with inflated fares.

Students were guoted saying how they and friends visiting the city were sworn at by cab drivers refusing to take them on short journeys.

The article provoked a huge response from cabbies and customers alike.

Reader Helen Davies wrote to say: "Thank goodness the ECHO has exposed these sharks. I have lost count of the number of stories I have heard about these modern day highway robbers. They give Liverpool a bad name."

And one black cab driver agreed: "There is a new breed of aggressive and greedy drivers who cherry pick. You just don't get this problem during the day. All decent cabbies want this problem sorting because it gives us all a bad name."

But there was also anger.

Paula McAleavey, wife of a black cab driver, said: "I would like to know where you get all your information from, for e.g, pounds 70 per hour, if this is true why would anybody be cherry picking? Also you do not mention or show any pictures of any private hire cab drivers cherry picking."

And taxi driver Steve Connolly, from Fairfield, e-mailed us to say: "Firstly, could your correspondent please tell us the make of taxi which can make up to pounds 70 an hour on a Saturday night, Ferrari or McLaren?

"Also, she reports the average takings of a city driver is pounds 500 a week and she fails to mention that most drivers have to pay up to pounds 380 a week as a settle or rent.

"I also am disappointed byte actions of this small minority, but the bias and tone of this article, coupled with the random and false figures quoted, creates a wholly inaccurate assumption that this practice is rife."

The figures came from the city council's taxi licensing officers who, over the last six months, have been working on exposing this rogue minority of drivers.

As for the accusation of bias - in the article we asked readers for tales of good service as well as bad and we emphasised that our letters page regularly includes letters of thanks about kind hearted cabbies.

We pointed out clearly it was only a minority of drivers we were talking about and in yesterday's ECHO we carried a full page follow-up story with comments from cab drivers.

We felt that it was an issue worth highlighting and by doing so let's hope we can put a stop to it.
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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Leaders
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 22, 2007
Previous Article:Why Hale is top day out.
Next Article:Letter: You say - Save this happy store.

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