Updated: Jan 8
The UK taxi trade experiences a seasonal drop in demand every January, but just how bad will the drop be in 2023?
January, and sometimes parts of February, are widely regarded as the quietist period for business. It is commonly referred to as ‘Kipper Season’ in London. Since the turn of the New Year, cabbies have had to tackle the seasonal downturn in work, along with national train strikes.
Lloyd Baldwin, LTDA Executive S.O., said in TAXI Newspaper: “Work levels wise, 2022 has not been too bad for most and it looks we will end this year on a positive note. I hope this continues into the New Year.
“Having said that, most Januarys since I got my badge in 1995 have always been difficult and we must rely on really bad weather keeping us going. The early part of the year has always been known as ‘kipper season’ when things get tough. I am not sure why kipper – either because people survived on kippers when money was tight or because business was flat and you had to pick out the bones.
“Personally, I’ve found in the last few years (putting the first week of January aside), that Januarys have not always been as bad as feared. Again, personally, I find February can be worse. It’s a difficult one for us, as traditionally we go from high demand for our services in the lead up to Christmas to watching them drop off completely, but stick with it.”
When is the London taxi industry at its busiest?
It is difficult to pinpoint a specific time of year when London taxis are busiest, as demand for taxi services can vary depending on a number of factors. Some times of the year when taxi demand may be higher include:
Events: Demand for taxis tends to increase around special events and seasonal Bank Holidays, such as New Year's Eve, Christmas. Demand for taxis traditional increases during the duration of the Chelsea Flower Show and the Wimbledon Tennis Championship.
Tourist season: Demand for taxis may also be higher during the tourist season, when there are more visitors to the city.
Rush hour: Demand for taxis is typically higher during the morning and evening rush hours, when people are commuting to and from work.
Inclement weather: Demand for taxis may also increase during periods of inclement weather, when people are more likely to opt for a taxi rather than walk or use public transportation.
Since the final coronavirus restrictions were lifted earlier in 2022, demand for taxi services in the capital has been high year-round.
What are the early signs for January 2023 in London?
It’s a hard one to gauge so far due to the ongoing national industrial action in the railway sector.
Nigel Heaslewood, a suburban London taxi driver who relies on the work generated by commuters using train services, told TaxiPoint: “No one travelling equals no work for us. Probably won’t even cover costs this week!
“It’s also effecting a lot of local small businesses.. Deli, coffee shops, station florist etc etc as well as already hitting the hospitality sector hard.”
As expected, taxi app work has been slow in the first week compared to the rest of the year, but street work encouragingly has been steady and some tourists remain in the capital.
With the number of taxi drivers available to work still low, this ‘Kipper Season’ is not expected to be as harsh as previous Januarys.