Private Hire Driver says the industry is in desperate need of a cap on licences as he claims to work

A Teeside private hire driver has said the industry is in desperate need of a cap put on the amount of licences issued, claiming he’s having to work a 40-hour week before earning a single penny. The driver, who didn’t want to be named, told Teeside Live that the roads are now flooded with drivers from different firms, all spiralling into debt as they struggle to “make ends meet.” The current state of the industry has left the driver battling depression he has claimed. Along with having to work ever increasing hours, the driver highlighted the risks driver take when dealing with the public, saying he’s been beaten up by passengers and calling the job “scary” at times. The unnamed driver said that “each firm is trying to beat the other” claiming that it causes a drop in fare prices leading to the drivers earning even less. The man said that you become reliant on tips from your passengers to help with earnings, saying customers are aware of the issues and sympathise with their drivers because they know the fares are extremely low. He is now calling for Middlesbrough Council to put a cap on the number of licences granted, but the council say there is no current legislation to enforce such a limit. The driver said that having no cap on licences is profitable for the council, as they make money from every licence issued, saying: “it’s business for them.” The council however said that they can and do limit the number of hackney vehicles unless they are purpose built wheelchair accessible type.” The driver has claimed that he has to work a “70-odd hour shift” just so he can clear a couple of hundred pound earnings for himself. Vehicle rent, fuel and licence fees all add up for drivers who don’t get sick pay or holidays. The taxi and private hire industry has seen an unprecedented increase of drivers since the emergence of ride-hailing apps like Uber, making it more and more difficult for individuals to earn a living. Supply seems to be outweighing demand within the industry and not many of those in power to make a positive change seem to be acting in time. The industry is bursting at the seems and its only a matter of time before it pops, leaving drivers out of work and in serious debt.

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