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PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2021 2:47 pm 
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Drivers send warning to anyone trying to get a taxi in Liverpool this weekend

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/li ... g-21417362

Top firm says they need 500 more drivers to meet demand as people unable to get cabs for hours

Merseyside is facing a 'critical shortage' of private hire and taxi drivers as people struggle to get cabs around the region.

Large numbers of people have reported facing huge difficulties trying to get cabs in Liverpool and across the region, with some waiting hours or having to give up altogether.

Now one of the region's biggest private hire firms, Alpha Taxis, have lifted the lid on the major problems facing firms that are leading to these issues.

James Bradley, director of Alpha, told the ECHO that there is a 'critical shortage' of private hire and taxi drivers currently, with Merseyside particularly struggling for cover.

Explaining the reasons for the situation, Mr Bradley said: "Unfortunately, over the past 18 months many drivers have been forced out of the industry with health concerns of their own or for family members etc.

"However, replacing those that have left has not been easy or quick enough.

"As restrictions have been lifted, starting in April, the amount of journeys has returned in abundance, with people going about their daily lives once again. However, the balance of available work to available drivers is currently in dire need of more drivers."

He added: "We estimate we need around 500 more drivers to meet the current demand."

Mr Bradley said local councils have 'had their hands tied' with covid measures meaning they have been unable to process enough new badge applications or carry out enough street knowledge tests.

He added: "Unfortunately, the new badge applicant process was effectively closed for large parts of the previous 18 months.

"We are always striving to make the industry even more rewarding to existing drivers and more attractive to those looking for new job opportunities through increased earnings and more efficient use of technology.

"We have proactively engaged with the local job centres to get people back into work. If anybody is currently looking for work and interested there are plenty of opportunities to drive with us and earn a good living."

The so-called 'taxi drought' in Liverpool and the wider region has been well documented on social media.

Lots of people have described facing enormous difficulty when trying to get cabs - particularly in and around the city centre.

Hundreds responded to our question on the issue on the Liverpool Echo Facebook page.

Alex Williams said: "Every Saturday night is the same. I didn’t get in till 6.30am a few weeks ago after waiting 3 hours for a taxi and it’s put me off going out."

Becci Green shared her difficult recent experience, she said: "Nightmare. Over 3 hours I was stuck in town on Saturday, ended up in the queue by the Adelphi for a black cab, there was maybe one taxi every 5/10 mins.

"I tried private taxis and there we're none in the area. Tried to get an Uber and the price went from £19 on the way in from Kirkby to £48 on the way home."

Mike David Jack added: "I literally stay away from town because of this taxi crisis."


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2021 2:47 pm 
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Alpha Cars wrote:
"We are always striving to make the industry even more rewarding to existing drivers and more attractive to those looking for new job opportunities through increased earnings and more efficient use of technology."

Yes, they all say that, but at the same time all seem to take on any Tom, Dick or Harry who'll pay their fees. In fact the statement above acknowledges that, albeit sugar-coated in terms of 'those looking for new job opportunities'.

The statement could just as well be read as trying to maximise income from settle, irrespective of what drivers are earning.

Alpha Cars wrote:
"We have proactively engaged with the local job centres to get people back into work. If anybody is currently looking for work and interested there are plenty of opportunities to drive with us and earn a good living."

So nothing new there, then :roll:


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2021 4:22 pm 
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Job centres will only allow you to advertise PAYE jobs and I doubt they are offering minimum wage and all the benefits

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2021 5:40 pm 
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Pay the drivers £30 a hour garunteed and they will be queueing around the block.

But all these firms want drivers to take the risk, or to fleece new entrants with exorbitant vehicle rentals.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2021 4:59 pm 
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Although the firm isn't named, this is a Delta driver speaking, presumably :?


Liverpool taxi driver explains why people can't get a taxi after lockdown

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/li ... e-21455405

Region is facing a 'critical shortage' of drivers and while many have blamed covid, one driver says there are more issues at play

A private hire taxi driver has explained why he believes so many people have left the industry, leaving Merseyside with a 'critical shortage' of drivers.

Last week the ECHO revealed there is a major shortage of cab drivers in the region, with one of the biggest firms in the region saying they need 500 new drivers just to cope with current demand.

Alpha Taxis boss James Bradley said many drivers have been forced out of the industry during the pandemic - with many citing health concerns - and that replacing those who have left has proved very difficult.

Our story came after many people got in touch to say they are finding it increasingly difficult to get taxis and private hire cars when out and about in Liverpool and around the region at present.

But one driver who got in touch with the ECHO said there are other factors at play and that the cost of being a driver is forcing many out of the job.

The driver, who asked only to be known as Ray, works for one of the bigger private hire firms in the region, he is registered with Sefton Council but works across Liverpool too.

He said: "One of the main reasons for the shortage is the cost of being a driver."

Ray is self employed and gave a breakdown of what it costs to operate as a driver and how much this leaves him with each week.

He said: "I would like to give you a example of what a driver earns, the figures I’m relating to are my actual earrings from last week. (Some drivers take more and some a lot less)

"I worked 67 hours and took £1,030.60, this sounds fantastic at £15:38 per hour.

"However when you break it down and take away your expenses, which include £120 car settle, £180 operator settle and £100 fuel, this comes out at a weekly wage of £630 before tax."

He added: "That's £91.41 per day. Drivers have simply left to do other driving jobs where they can pick up £9-10 pounds per hour without any outgoings.

"There are too many greedy taxi operators and garages who settle cars out."

Ray also said that too many local operators are now taking on drivers from places as far away as Bolton, Wolverhampton and Manchester plates and said Liverpool is 'flooded' with out of town Uber drivers.

Ray, who has had his private hire badge for five years, added: "This is simply not a job that you can work 40 hours a week and make a living from.

"40 hours would only bring in a net wage of around £280, whereas driving full time for Iceland or Asda would bring £360 without the hassle."


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2021 5:43 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
Pay the drivers £30 a hour garunteed and they will be queueing around the block.

But all these firms want drivers to take the risk, or to fleece new entrants with exorbitant vehicle rentals.

What would fares need to be to support an hourly rate of £30.00?

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2021 5:45 pm 
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edders23 wrote:
Job centres will only allow you to advertise PAYE jobs and I doubt they are offering minimum wage and all the benefits

The only applicants that we have had from advertising in the job centre are the ones who have to satisfy universal credit that they are actively looking for work. The just do interviews with no intention of actually working and the majority would never get a license due to their criminal records.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2021 5:53 pm 
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IT would help if the councils where taking on new drivers :oops:

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2021 6:30 pm 
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Quote:
"There are too many greedy taxi operators and garages who settle cars out."

Is the correct answer. =D>

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2021 6:33 pm 
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grandad wrote:
Sussex wrote:
Pay the drivers £30 a hour guaranteed and they will be queueing around the block.

But all these firms want drivers to take the risk, or to fleece new entrants with exorbitant vehicle rentals.

What would fares need to be to support an hourly rate of £30.00?

I was exaggerating a bit, my point is if drivers can be guaranteed a reasonable fixed take-home rate then the current drivers shortage wouldn't be so short.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 1:57 am 
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Not much to see here. And this is just half of what's quite a long piece, but the second half of the article just rehashes the two articles above, so haven't included it below.


Taxi company 'heartbroken' over long wait times customers face

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/li ... g-21560036

The company says it 'fully' agrees with the criticism it has received

A taxi company says it is 'heartbroken' after letting its customers down due to longer than usual wait time since the pandemic started.

Blueline Five-0 Taxi's, a family-ran business that covers Merseyside and Lancashire, took to social media to address the companies service over the last few months.

It came after the owners saw a number of posts calling the firms service 'terrible' and people asking 'what happened' to them.

Addressing the reviews on Facebook, the firm claims they are unable to bring in new recruits to bridge the gap due to council restrictions following the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement posted by Jenny Phillips, the firm said: "We aren’t the only company with a shortage of drivers but as your local company I feel it is my duty to stand up and apologise for the services we have ran lately.

"It is very hard to keep everyone happy with smaller driver numbers, the drivers and staff are working relentlessly and under immense pressure to make sure they do the best they can like they always have.

"But lack of drivers is causing longer wait times for you, also covering the whole of the A59 and having so many regulars it’s heart-breaking when we let you down."

Workers at the firm spoke of how they were left 'heartbroken' after a lack of drivers meant they were forced to let people down.

They also emphasised that workers were not 'being lazy' when the phones were not being answered, but a lack of drivers meant they were unable to take any new jobs.

The post continued: "I see posts saying don’t know what has happened to Blueline lately their service is terrible, and I fully agree and hold my hands up, but unless we get more drivers it’s going to be like this for a while longer.

"We will always do our best to meet your needs and we thank you so much for your support and loyalty to us staff and drivers, sometimes we have to stop answering phones it’s not we are being lazy it’s just we have a lot of work that has to be cleared before we can take more.

"We always say call back in 20 min and we will answer, life is a lot different after the pandemic we had no support or funding we done it alone.

"This post is just to let you know we have served you loyally since 1984, we just need to strengthen back up again to supply you the service we always have please if you hear of bad feedback about us remember this post is about me letting you know we have let you down and we sincerely apologise.

"But it’s not intentionally we are only human."

Blueline are not the only taxi firm struggling, with the ECHO revealing a major shortage of cab drivers in the region, with one of the biggest firms in the region saying it needs 500 new drivers just to cope with current demand.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 6:01 pm 
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Quote:
"We always say call back in 20 min and we will answer, life is a lot different after the pandemic we had no support or funding we done it alone.

What relevance has funding for operators got to do with the current shortfall (in some areas) of drivers? :-k

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 7:56 pm 
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For what it's worth a bit more from Blueline Five-0 and the response from councils about licensing delays. But, as usual with this kind of thing, not entirely clear if drivers actually off the road because of the changes in the process.


Lancashire taxi shortages as 'immense pressure' leads to long queues

https://www.lancs.live/news/lancashire- ... e-21568728

‘The drivers and staff are working relentlessly and under immense pressure to make sure they do the best they can like they always have, but lack of drivers is causing longer wait times.'

A popular Lancashire taxi firm has apologised for a shortage of drivers post pandemic and blamed the ravages of Covid-19 as well as delays in vehicle licensing at local councils.

Blueline Five-0 Taxis which covers West Lancashire and Liverpool, says its lack of drivers is due to Covid as well as a backlog of applications for new vehicle licences and renewals at local councils.

Manager Jenny Phillips said she wished to apologise for the way the service had been lately, highlighting the ‘immense pressure’ on staff working relentlessly.

She said delays at vehicle licensing departments including Sefton Council, West Lancashire Borough Council, Liverpool City Council and Knowsley Council had led to a shortage of drivers.

Jenny said: "We have in no way recovered back to what we were pre Covid. Pre Covid, we were doing fine. Then the pandemic happened and we lost family members, there are drivers who have lost family members, drivers are scared to come back. Some have got health issues, some have lost partners to Covid. There are a myriad of reasons why drivers have got out of the job."

Thanking customers for their support and loyalty, she added: "The drivers and staff are working relentlessly and under immense pressure to make sure they do the best they can like they always have, but lack of drivers is causing longer wait times.

"We were doing shopping for loads of customers at the height of the pandemic, but the shortage of drivers now has changed everything."

Citing one example of a driver who had waited for six weeks for a vehicle renewal from Sefton Council, Jenny added: "The councils are just not thinking of the impact on our drivers."

A Sefton Council spokesman said the council was still accepting applications for new drivers and renewals and that vehicle licence renewals were being processed via email, with the council aiming for a turnaround of ten working days for renewal applications.

The spokesperson added: "Sefton’s taxi drivers are being reminded that despite the relaxation of some COVID-19 restrictions, vehicle licence renewals are still being processed through a simple e-mail service.

"We aim for a turnaround of ten working days for the renewal of vehicle licences with a high proportion being processed more quickly. We ask that as much information regarding vehicle renewals is included within the subject line of the e-mail enabling us to prioritise our workload.

"Driver licences continue to be considered for auto renewal for a period of six months. A number of licence holders will be invited in for interview if a new DBS check is required, Immigration status check is required, a medical check is required or there are pending criminal matters."

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said: "Since the start of the Covid pandemic, to ensure the safety of drivers and its own staff, the council has been carrying out online renewals rather than the drop-in system at Bootle One Stop Shop.

“We have a 10-working-day-target for the process and the majority of applications are being done more quickly.

“And, owners can apply for renewal of their plate 28 days before their current one expires so there should be no reason why anyone should be without a plate

“As with many of our services, Sefton Council quickly adapted the way we managed taxi vehicle and driver licence renewals to ensure the safety of drivers and our own staff. This has meant that the popular drop-in service that took a few minutes, which drivers had got used to now takes a little longer but with a 28-day lead-in time for renewals, no-one need miss the deadline.

“Inevitably taxi drivers in Sefton have had to get used to a change from the drop-in, face-to-face process they have been accustomed to but the vast majority of them have adapted and have been using the system without any problems.’

The spokesperson for Sefton Council added that information about its applications process could be found on Sefton Council’s website.

West Lancashire Borough Council said it had been accepting new taxi driver applications for more than three months following a period of forced suspension at the height of the pandemic.

Councillor Gareth Dowling, portfolio holder for Communities and Community Safety, said: ‘The Council has been accepting new taxi driver applications for over three months following a period of forced suspension at the height of the pandemic and continues to accept new applications.

"Anyone interested in becoming a licensed driver in West Lancashire is welcome to make an application. More information on the application process is available here.

"We will continue to support the local taxi industry and drivers in any way we can as a council following the massive disruption and impact on drivers' income, and we encourage operators to engage with us on any issues we can help resolve."

A Liverpool City Council spokesperson said: "There are no delays in our processes at all and we process applications within days of receiving them."

Knowsley Council was approached for comment.


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