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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2021 7:36 pm 
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Norfolk taxi firm loses 100 drivers to food delivery industry

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-58424780

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Image: BBC

A taxi company said it had been left with 100 fewer drivers due to the pandemic.

Simon Kitchen, director of Albies Taxis in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, said many drivers left to work in other fields like food delivery when business was hit during the lockdowns.

The lack of drivers had put taxi waiting times up by two hours in peak periods, he said.

"If the wheels aren't turning, the monies aren't earning," he said.

"We haven't got enough drivers to cover what we do.

"Of an evening we have up to 15 drivers out but pre-pandemic it would have been about 40."

Mr Kitchen said the company had introduced incentives to encourage more drivers onboard, such as increasing the percentage of takings the driver keeps to 60%.

"A lot of drivers have gone to do other things during the pandemic and haven't come back," he said.

Mr Kitchen said companies across the area were struggling with the same issue.

"We've had people asking us to pick them up from Norwich as they had been told the wait time was four hours," he said.

Ian Fountain, general manager of Cabs Smart in Ipswich, Suffolk, said the shortage of drivers was having "a major effect on business".

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Image: BBC

"We are a third down on drivers compared with pre-pandemic, so business is down a third as well," he said.

Mr Fountain believed the licensing process was preventing drivers from joining the industry.

"The amount of time it takes is too long," he said.

"One driver told me he couldn't get on a course until next March, that's a long time for someone who's unemployed and wants to earn money."

He also thought the cost of licensing was putting some people off.

"A driver on their own it's about £700 then if they want their own vehicle it's another £300," he said.

Mr Fountain said he had heard of other councils writing to drivers who had not renewed their licence, reducing fees and fast-tracking applications to get drivers back on the road.

"We need the council on board to help the industry," he said.

"It's going to be a ling time to get back to where we were pre-pandemic."

Councillor Alasdair Ross, portfolio holder for community protection at Ipswich Borough Council, said its teams "work hard to process applications and support drivers through the process".

He said mandatory public safety checks were "essential" and the council had "worked hard" to ensure most of the process could be done electronically "to make it easier for new drivers".

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2021 7:37 pm 
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Quote:
"We've had people asking us to pick them up from Norwich as they had been told the wait time was four hours," he said.

Haven't quite waited four hours for a fare yet, but certainly a couple of hours. Town pretty dead this week as Scottish schools go back and hotels and caravans emptying.

Plenty of students back early, but not really the cab-using, er, demographic.

Things should change this weekend, but I'm certainly not looking forward to it, despite the extra money :?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2021 8:22 pm 
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Mr Kitchen said the company had introduced incentives to encourage more drivers onboard, such as increasing the percentage of takings the driver keeps to 60%.

Some people just don't get it.

Why on earth would drivers come back, and work unsociable hours, whilst giving some fella fast asleep at home 40% of their take? #-o

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2021 1:26 am 
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Had to laugh at Mr *Kitchen* complaining that drivers had left to do food delivery :lol:

Can't really think of any obvious joke about Mr Fountain, though :roll:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2021 9:31 am 
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I fear their temporary boost to trade due to Covid induced staycationers will evaporate very quickly when the holiday air corridors to international holidays reopen, and the present shortage of drivers will become a surplus of drivers by the end of this summer season.

So those with a high expectation of a good income from their their new taxiing/PH career will be in for a hell of a shock come the Autumn.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2021 9:32 am 
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StuartW wrote:
Had to laugh at Mr *Kitchen* complaining that drivers had left to do food delivery :lol:

Can't really think of any obvious joke about Mr Fountain, though :roll:


Maybe he "Spouts" rubbish.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 7:58 pm 
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Another 'woe is me' article about the Great Yarmouth trade.

https://www.greatyarmouthmercury.co.uk/ ... ge-8325752

We have operators saying they need loads more drivers and cars, and yet the driver on the rank waited two and a half hours for his first job.

Maybe those operators want drivers to wait 3/4/5 hours between jobs.

Oh and I wonder if the 8 years without a rise has anything to do with the lack of drivers? #-o

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 9:49 pm 
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Have put the latest piece up, because often such articles end up behind a paywall or disappear completely.

But it's a great piece in that it illustrates the diametrically opposed views of the despatch offices bosses and those at the bottom of the pile.


Finding it hard to get a taxi in Great Yarmouth? Here's why

https://www.greatyarmouthmercury.co.uk/ ... ge-8325752

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Image: Archant/Great Yarmouth Mercury

"We just don't have the drivers anymore."

That is the message from two of Great Yarmouth's main taxi firms as they struggle to meet demand from customers due to a lack of cabbies.

Both Albies and Swift Taxis have seen fewer of their drivers on the streets, especially at night time.

Albies has seen an exodus of drivers as they seek jobs elsewhere, such as takeaway delivery drivers, or give up working nights as they do not have a financial incentive to pick up revellers.

The firm has lost 100 drivers during the pandemic and the number working nights has dropped sharply, with waiting times shooting up.

Director Simon Kitchen said: "Before the pandemic we had about 40 drivers out at night, but now it is like 15.

"Work had dried up during the pandemic totally and drivers left, not coming back - they sought out new lifestyles.

"The driver situation has never been as bad as it is.

"It is going to end up the survival of the fittest. We are already on pretty low profit margins."

Mr Kitchen said the company was trying to rectify the situation by offering to pay for potential driver's taxi licences, with three currently awaiting their tests.

He added that taxi fare rates had not risen for eight years, which did not help the financial situation.

At Swift Taxis, the company closes its office at 11pm due to a driver shortage.

Catherine Smith, director, said there was no point keeping an office open with two phone operators if there were no taxis available to send out.

She said: "We are in exactly the same situation as Albies.

"More and more drivers don't want to work nights. If I have got no drivers at night why would we pay an operator then?

"We just have to cut our cloth accordingly."

She said drivers earn enough on contract work, such as with the county council and the offshore industry, to tide them over and make them not want to work nights.

She added: "We are just not getting the new blood in."

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Image: Anthony Carroll/Great Yarmouth Mercury

View from the taxi rank

Taxi driver Neil Anderson was waiting for passing trade on the taxi rank at Theatre Plain.

A veteran of 32 years behind the wheel he said trade had been slow and that on Tuesday he waited two and half hours for his first fare

He said: "People did stop using taxis. It was horrendous."

He added that drivers had given up on waiting for fares at the town's train station as there was not enough trade from passengers getting off and instead waited for fares in the town centre.

He added that firms like Albies were suffering as its drivers 'left to work for Just Eat' - leaving the way for pick up fare drivers to benefit during the day.

Another taxi driver at a rank, who did not want to be named, said: "It has been a struggle."

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Image: Anthony Carroll/Great Yarmouth Mercury


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 9:49 pm 
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Albies has seen an exodus of drivers as they seek jobs elsewhere, such as takeaway delivery drivers, or give up working nights as they do not have a financial incentive to pick up revellers.

But if they were working then they'd be earning a lot more than they did pre-lockdown, presumably, but there's 'no financial incentive'? :-s


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 5:13 am 
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Location: Stamford Britains prettiest town till SKDC ruined it
it's simple the plate barons are obviously very cheap fares hence the demand but that doesn't attract the drivers and with the removal of a couple of million eastern Europeans from the job market loads of better paid work available

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:26 am 
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Sussex wrote:
Quote:
Mr Kitchen said the company had introduced incentives to encourage more drivers onboard, such as increasing the percentage of takings the driver keeps to 60%.

Some people just don't get it.

Why on earth would drivers come back, and work unsociable hours, whilst giving some fella fast asleep at home 40% of their take? #-o
How much do you think it costs to run a booking office? I know our company are a bit different to most in that everyone is an employee but for every hour that the cars are on the road we need someone to answer the calls. The wages for the office staff are the same for if there is one car on the road or ten. The rent for the office is the same and the cost of the booking system is the same. We own and maintain all the vehicles. Oh and we are also the last ones to finish at night.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:56 pm 
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How much do you think it costs to run a booking office?

Lots of money.

However the issue being discussed is why should drivers come back to the trade to earn less than they are currently earning outside of the trade?

And how many drivers that give 40% or 50% of their take are actually earning national min wage? Let alone a living wage?

Not many IMO, and is it right to expect drivers to flood back to the trade, to work unsociable hours, for less or not much more than national minimum wage?

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