It is too easy to criticise taxis – look at rail costs

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Taxi drivers routinely find themselves the whipping boys of the highways – they’re too expensive, the drivers don’t know where they’re going, they think they run the roads, and so on, say the critics.

And combined with the long hours they work for what we are told are diminishing returns, one almost has to wonder: who would become a taxi driver?

I’m sure many of us have met taxi drivers who’d fail to qualify for sainthood. But by the same token, the majority are decent folk just trying to make a living like the rest of us.

With petrol prices dropping dramatically at the pumps recently, the fact that taxi and private hire firms have not also dropped their prices has led to criticism that they are not passing on these supposed savings.

However, as we are told by Paul Rogerson of the Fareham Hackney and Private Hire Association, their charges have not increased since 2008. And in Havant hackney cab drivers only voted for their first pay rise since 2008 last month.

It is only in recent weeks that fuel prices at the pumps have dropped to 2009 prices, so those firms and drivers have been absorbing those rising costs to the detriment of their own profits.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage was aiming her comments more at train and bus operators, but taxi firms have found themselves drawn into the debate as well.

In the past week it has been revealed that the controversial taxi company Uber is looking to set up in Portsmouth.

Of course competition is a good thing in an open marketplace, but it could lead to those drivers seeing a further squeeze on their income.

It is too easy to blame a highly visible target on the road. The increase in rail tickets during the same period is something that really should attract opprobrium.