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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2021 7:26 am 
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Preston's black cab fleet told to 'up their game' to survive in competition with private hire taxis

https://www.chorley-guardian.co.uk/busi ... is-3122713

Owners of Preston’s black cabs have been told to “up their game” if they want to compete with private hire companies for a dwindling number of passengers.

The hackney carriage fleet, which has been decimated by the effects of Covid, now commands only a quarter of the city’s taxi trade, according to the latest survey commissioned by the council.

And there are concerns that could shrink even more if owners don’t get up to speed with the technology used by minicab firms, such as booking apps.

Experts say the private hire companies have mounted a “much stronger and more robust reaction” to a fall-off in trade over recent years, leaving black cabs trailing in their wake.

“To survive the hackney carriage trade in the city needs to up its game even more than its private hire counterparts have done,” says a report presented to Preston’s taxi committee by the national Licensed Vehicle Surveys and Assessments unit.

The survey, carried out every three to four years, says that pre-Covid trade was down by 31 per cent compared to the last inspection in 2016.

The figures were compiled before the first lockdown, with numbers now considerably lower. Preston has had a limit of 187 black cabs since 1994. The survey estimates weekly demand was 8,245 passenger journeys before Covid, almost a third less than four years ago.

While the number of hackney carriages is restricted, there are now 579 private hire vehicles in the city, taking 76 per cent of the business.

Preston cabbie Zafar Iqbal, branch chairman of the taxi union RMT, said: “I would agree with the report, we have fallen behind on things like technology.

"But our drivers are working hard to catch up. We could soon have an app and we now have electric vehicles on our ranks. We know what we have to do.”


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2021 7:27 am 
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The figures were compiled before the first lockdown, with numbers now considerably lower.

All a bit pointless now, but I suppose they weren't to know that at the time :?

But I wonder if any plates are surrendered because of Covid, whether they would be reissued to an applicant?

And I assume plate numbers will be set at pre-Covid levels of demand rather than a lower one because of Covid?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:09 pm 
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Taxi for Covid as black cab trade decimated by pandemic in Preston

https://www.lep.co.uk/news/transport/ta ... on-3135182

Preston’s black cab trade has been decimated by the Covid pandemic over the past 10 months, according to drivers.

Image
Image: Lancashire Post

The hackney carriage fleet says it has lost up to 90 per cent of its fares during lockdown, with many cabbies taking their taxis off the road or switching to delivering parcels and takeaways.

“We’ve really been hit hard,” said Zafar Iqbal, who is chairman of the drivers’ union RMT locally.

“The city centre has all-but shut down and hardly anyone is using the railway station. So most of our work has just dried up.”

The city’s 226 owner drivers say their business was already on a downturn before the coronavirus restrictions bit last March.

Only two weeks ago experts who carried out a survey on behalf of Preston Council - just before the first lockdown - warned the black cab fleet it would have to “up its game” with the use of technology, such as phone apps, if it wanted to compete with private hire taxi firms in future.

Now some hackney carriage drivers have even defected to the opposition to find work during the pandemic.

“We have lost about 90 per cent of our trade due to Covid,” said Zafar. “There just isn’t enough work for everyone. Our members have really suffered.

“The pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants in the city have been closed for months. With the railway station, they give us most of our trade.

"But if no-one is out many of our drivers have had to look for alternative work, like taking deliveries.

"Sadly some have left the trade altogether and won’t be coming back. It’s been an awful time for us.”

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Image: Lancashire Post


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:45 am 
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Location: Stamford Britains prettiest town till SKDC ruined it
I doubt there is a town in the Uk that can claim to be any different

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 7:33 pm 
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edders23 wrote:
I doubt there is a town in the Uk that can claim to be any different

Sums things up quite succinctly.

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