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UK cab trade debate and advice
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 3:40 pm 

Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 6:33 am
Posts: 8640
This is surprisingly good from a columnist in the Dundee-based Courier. Quite sympathetic to the trade, and even makes the point that men can be more at risk of violence than women :-o

That graphic of the taxi rank in Dundee could do with a bit of work, though :roll:

OPINION: Tip your taxi driver, while you still can ... ge-crisis/


Who’d be a taxi driver?

Not me.

Antisocial hours and antisocial passengers. Drunks, vomit and spilled takeaways. Fights, fare-dodgers, mean tippers and feigning enthusiasm when it’s the 20th time you’ve heard “busy tonight?” from the back seat.

I don’t imagine they’re seeing humanity at its best a lot of the time.

They’ve certainly seen me at my worst.

So is anyone surprised to learn it’s the latest line of work caught in one of those pesky perfect storms we keep hearing about?

Firms across Tayside and Fife have been telling us they’re at crisis point.

It seems taxi drivers went off and found other jobs when we all stopped going out during lockdown.

Lots of them realised the grass was greener elsewhere. Less vomit. More respect. They’re not coming back. Funny that.

And what with Brexit and all that, there’s not a queue of candidates lining up to take their place.

Perth-based Ace Taxis has cars sitting idle and phones ringing off the hook.

A&B Taxis has lost at least 20 members of staff and organised a day of back-to-back interviews, only for no one to turn up.

Fifers are waiting hours for a taxi.

One wheelchair user says she’s been told there’s no one available to drive accessible cars, meaning she has to rope in friends to help her on and off buses – or stay at home.

And it’s not just a little local difficulty either.

Labour shortages are widespread

Aberdeen Taxis told the BBC it had 1,200 taxis pre-pandemic. It has 550 now.

One Glasgow firm said it had lost a third of its staff.

A former taxi driver told the Beeb he’d taken up lorry driving because the hours and conditions were better.

Which might be good news for the struggling haulage industry and our prospects for getting petrol to the pumps and turkeys onto supermarket shelves in time for Christmas.

But there’s only so long we can go on shuffling drivers from one labour crisis to the next.

The UK Government’s solution to the truckers shortage hasn’t been a rip roaring success so far.

Just 27 EU workers have applied for the first tranche of temporary visas it was offering to solve the petrol crisis.

So it’s hard to see where all the extra taxi drivers are going to come from – or how we’re going to fast track them through the training and licensing requirements.

Taxi driver shortage is a safety issue

Those hoops they make taxi drivers jump through are there for a reason.

They’re there to protect the safety of passengers.

And it’s safety that makes this labour shortage so concerning.

“She was walking home” is the slogan we’ll all remember from this year.

It’s on placards and hashtags and in the back of all of our minds in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder.

It’s why women are campaigning for the night tube to be reinstated in London, where Sarah was abducted by her killer Wayne Couzens.

And it’s why no one wants anyone to be walking home anywhere when it’s cold and it’s dark and they’re alone and they’re vulnerable.

That goes for men too.

For all our fears as women it’s men who are more likely to get a battering if they’re out on the streets when the pubs are emptying.

And if there aren’t enough taxis, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

So a taxi driver shortage might not seem like something we need to worry about in our sober moments.

But like so many of those things we once took for granted, it turns out we miss them when they’re gone.

Who pays for high wage economy?

On the face of it, the “high wage” economy that Boris Johnson outlined at the Conservative Party conference this week, is something we should welcome.

If the pandemic showed us anything it’s that the workers we rely on most – the carers, the shop workers, the taxi drivers – are often the ones we’ve valued least.

The answer to our mounting labour crises isn’t bringing in immigrants to do these jobs for less money, he says.

It’s time for business to raise the pay and improve the conditions for workers here.

It’s a brilliant idea. On paper.

A decent wage for an honest day’s work. Who’s going to argue with that?

But like lots of Boris’s bright ideas it’s probably going to come down to other people to figure out the details and pick up the tab.

There’s no quick governmental fix coming for the taxi driver crisis.

Petrol queues make for embarrassing front page pictures. Overstuffed taxi ranks? Not so much.

So we’re in for longer waits and fares are probably going to increase, along with all the other price rises up ahead.

Until then the best we can do is look out for one another.

Stay safe, be patient, be nice and tip your driver. You might need them to look out for you when you can’t look after yourself.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 3:43 pm 

Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 6:33 am
Posts: 8640
Fifers are waiting hours for a taxi.

That's based on the article about the firm in Leven being five weekend drivers down after lockdown, and people waiting longer than usual in the early hours :roll:

Passengers certainly not 'waiting hours' up here in St Andrews. Last night I waited around 90 minutes at one point on the main night rank, from about 2130 to 2300 ](*,)

Been trying to avoid the 2am pub/club kick out if I can, so not really sure if that's worse than it used to be. But even with fewer cars on the rank than pre-lockdown, I'd say things are generally slower in terms of trade. Not a complete disaster so far, but not sure what will happen when the last of the tourists dwindle away :?

PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 8:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 7:30 pm
Posts: 48756
Location: 1066 Country
As I mentioned in another post, drivers who stayed in the trade have spent the last 18 months earning peanuts. Many of them have suffered immense stress, both financial and mental.

Is it really asking that much for those drivers to be able to fill their boots for a year or two?


PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 8:23 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 8:23 pm
Posts: 4528
Location: Lincoln
Sussex wrote:
As I mentioned in another post, drivers who stayed in the trade have spent the last 18 months earning peanuts. Many of them have suffered immense stress, both financial and mental.

Is it really asking that much for those drivers to be able to fill their boots for a year or two?

Too right, mate.

For all the bleating from every minicab manager in the country, there will be no rush of applicants to join.

Some wonder where did they all go. Well I know why one local firm is 100 drivers short. Back in 2020, when our county council, and others paid operators for school runs they were not doing for several months, one particular baron saw the school contracts as his, and decided the cash was his to keep, the greedy, grasping, father farquahar. Although I’m not surprised. Rental boys chucked their cars back at him, and they ain’t coming back anytime soon.

And oh, how my heart bleeds for directors (dictators) when they hold interview days and no one turns up.

Never, ever, forget that a driver is reliant on a turnover of fares to survive, whereas a dictator is reliant on a turnover (of mostly mug) drivers.

Father of the rank.

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