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‘CATASTROPHIC’ shortage of drivers risks sustainability of taxi and private hire industry says LPHCA

A ‘catastrophic shortage of drivers’ risks the sustainability of the taxi and private hire industry says LPHCA Chairman.

Steve Wright, Chairman of the Licensed Private hIre Car Association (LPHCA), warned of the potential problems last summer when he contacted the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps.

Since then little industry specific funding has been made available, forcing drivers to look for other work during the pandemic. Licensed driver and vehicle numbers have dropped significantly meaning in some cases the pent-up demand cannot be met.

The issue is expected to be pushed further once the final restrictions are dropped.

Steve Wright said in the latest issue of Private Hire News: “Sadly, our prediction of the possibility of a catastrophic shortage of drivers is becoming a reality and the LPHCA will continue to make ministers aware of the difficulties.

“Last July we wrote to Rt. Hon. Grant Shapps MP Secretary of State for Transport to draw his attention to potential serious problems and the risks to the sustainability of the Taxi & Private Hire industry.”

The LPHCA lists a number of concerns causing the shortages. These range from LTN’s and Street Closures to road pricing.

The shift to cleaner vehicles or more heavily regulated cabs in some regions have also pushed drivers away to find alternative employment. Wright says: “Drivers have massive pressures with new vehicle requirements and the impossibility of financing them, particularly after a pandemic.

“Add in the lack of availability of suitable vehicles, lack of charging infrastructure at home, the price of on-street electricity and it is not then difficult to understand why a driver shortage is happening.

“Following previous recessions there has traditionally been a glut of potential drivers, but the pandemic has confined that fact to history.”

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