Posted by admin on June 21st, 2015
Source: BBC Online
At least a quarter of minicab and taxi drivers in London are stopping work once the sun goes down to mark Ramadan. The holy month commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, according to Islamic belief.
Organisations which represent drivers said at least 25% were finishing their shifts before sundown to return home and break their fasts with family. It is estimated about one million Londoners will fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan.
The Muslim holy month follows the lunar calendar and as such it is the first time in many years it has fallen at this point in the summer when daylight lasts for about 19 hours.
Steve Wright, chairman of the Licensed Private Hire Car Association, said: “We are aware that many private hire and taxi drivers won’t be working during Ramadan. It’s certainly very tight, it’s about 25%, but it doesn’t stop the world from turning. “There are lots of religious festivals which means there are less drivers available but we cope with it and others make hay – it’s a sort of counterbalance.”
He said the organisation arranged its trade shows around religious festivals and “there was a time when if a James Bond film was on TV a third of drivers would be at home watching it, so it’s nothing new”.
Steve McNamara from the Licensed Taxi Driver Association, which represents black cab drivers, said the number of drivers observing Ramadan and only choosing to work during daylight hours “will be high”. He said: “London taxi drivers are very representative of the community we serve, recent graduates from the Knowledge of London are almost an exact mirror of the breakdown and mix of our great city.”
In contrast retailers in the city are seeing a boom in sales due to the so-called Ramadan Rush with new products and fashions released in time for the Holy month. Nazmin Alim, the creative director at AAB Collection at East Shopping Centre in Green Street, said: “Ramadan is considered a key trading period and something we prepare for well in advance.
“It’s also a very communal month where family and friends come together. Inviting people to open fast with you is something which is highly regarded. “Spending is on the agenda for food and clothing as social activities tend to increase due to invites, and gifts are given meaning the overall spend is much more during this month.”