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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 9:46 pm 
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Perth and Kinross taxi drivers playing "Russian Roulette" with coronavirus according to firm boss

The owner of a Perth taxi firm has said drivers are playing “Russian Roulette” with COVID-19 every time they accept a new passenger.

Paul Hotchkiss was speaking after we revealed last week that Roseanna [edited by admin] MSP had written to Perth and Kinross Council raising concerns some cab drivers were not wiping their vehicle down between each journey.

In a letter to the Perthshire Advertiser, Paul said drivers had to pick up members of the public without knowing if they had COVID-19 or not.

And he also said the taxi industry was facing collapse due to the pandemic.

Speaking to the Perthshire Advertiser, Paul, who owns Thistle Taxis, pointed to one driver in Perth who found out his passenger had tested positive for the coronavirus while in the car.

He said: “Drivers don’t know the background of people who get in their cabs.

“A few weeks ago you had the driver going to Dundee and the passenger found out while she was in the taxi.

“Every day we have two dozen people in our cab so there’s a good chance some will be affected.

“Most of us have taken precautions. I have had a screen fitted and wear a mask.

“I also object to people with medical issues not wearing a mask. If they are just sitting there, it should be fine. I have COPD and I still wear a mask.”

Paul, who has been driving taxis for 29 years, said the trade had still not recovered from the financial crash of 2008 when COVID-19 hit.

And he said changing work patterns are still impacting on business.

“At the start of lockdown, business was about 70 per cent down,” he said. “I’ve now built it up to 50 per cent.

“Most of our business is corporate but everyone is working from home now.

“I used to be down at Edinburgh Airport all the time but it’s only been about three times in the last few months.

“Even people going shopping - they do it completely different now and we’ve got to deal with that.

“I think our industry has went under the radar. The last recession caused a drop in business which we’ve never really recovered from and this has just added to it.

“It’s very difficult for drivers.”

Council fails to satisfy more than half of Freedom of Information requests

Paul praised Perth and Kinross Council for its help during lockdown in keeping school contracts going.

And he even said one regular customer who no longer needs to use a taxi has kept paying them each month to help them out.

But he said the support from government had been less useful: “It doesn’t really work for me.

“They pay you out of you profits but that ignores other running costs.”

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 9:47 pm 
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Quote:
And he also said the taxi industry was facing collapse due to the pandemic.

Not going to be helped by telling prospective punters they are equally at risk every time they get in a cab.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:35 pm 
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Not sure what the proprietor quoted is saying to address the points made by Roseanna Cu-nningham MSP. He seems to be going off at a tangent a bit, and ignoring the point being made.

Anyway, this is what Cu-nningham said originally. Her use of 'private hire taxi' suggests she doesn't know much about the trade, so not clear whether she's talking about HCs or PHVs, or both. But fleets will be mixed in Perth, so she's presumably just meaning either/or, however her comment about drivers standing close to each other suggests it's HCs she's talking about in that instance.

Quote:
Roseanna Cu-nningham MSP has expressed concerns after it was reported by a member of the public.

And one resident who spoke to the Perthshire Advertiser said they had witnessed drivers pick up new hires without any attempt to clean their vehicle.

He also said he had seen taxi drivers standing together while not social distancing in the street.

Ms Cu-nningham has now written to the council asking it to investigate as the body which hands out taxi licences.

She said: “It is quite understandable for people to be concerned if they suspect that private hire taxis are not being wiped down between hires as they should.

“I have brought the issues raised to the attention of council officials and I am sure that they will be looking into the matter.

“I know that most drivers will be doing their best and it is only too human to make mistakes, but I urge all taxi drivers to ensure that they are following all of the guidance they have received at all times.

“Keeping to these rules is about keeping us all safe - drivers and passengers alike.”


But when I read stuff like that I always think it ironic that the likes of Cu-nningham have done zero to protect drivers from drunks and the like. At one point she was the cabinet minister in Scotland responsible for crime and liquor licensing, but had a reputation as a bit of a drunk herself :-s

Kenny MacAskill MSP was her boss as justice secretary, and also had responsibility for licensing the trade. But he also had a well known drink problem, and was once arrested for D&D at an England v Scotland match at Wembley (obviously quite a long time ago now). MacAskill is now a Westminster MP :roll:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:53 am 
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The only thing that is useful at Holyrood is the door out...the MSP's are rank amatuers compared to Westminster MP's and that's not saying much.


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