One in five taxi drivers across the UK are still working or offering their services during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a poll conducted by the leading taxi industry news source, TaxiPoint, 21% of cabbies were still offering their services in some form as of Sunday 29 March.
79% of the 1,300+ cabbies surveyed are currently not working, with many citing concerns over their own and their families' safety and/or that they fall into the community’s most vulnerable section of society as their reasons why.
Taxi drivers across the UK have seen a sharp downturn in work levels, almost at zero in some parts of the country, but are still looking to bring in whatever income they can.
Some cabbies are also volunteering their services for free or heavily reduced rates, to ferry NHS staff and vital food parcels to the most vulnerable in society during the COVID-19 crisis.
Last week the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed that taxi and private hire drivers can continue working during the current COVID-19 government isolation measures.
However, DfT officials did urge cab drivers to ‘stay at home if possible’.
Last week, Paul Elliott, DfT Policy Adviser, Buses & Taxis Division, told local councils: “Taxis and private hire vehicles can continue to work. But the advice is absolutely clear - people should stay at home if possible. That is the way to save lives and protect our NHS. The public should avoid travel unless absolutely essential. The only reasons to leave our houses are set out in the government guidance.
“Clearly if absolutely necessary to travel by taxi or private hire vehicle, best efforts should be used to follow the guidance as far as is practically possible, including washing your hands as soon as you get home.
“Taxi and private hire drivers should not generally be considered Critical Workers. Those undertaking Home to School transport or the transport of ‘extremely vulnerable’ people may be considered Critical Workers on a case-by-case basis.
“Critical Workers should also whenever possible make suitable arrangements for their children to stay at home; requests for children to attend school should be discussed with the school.”
Image credit: Ross Campbell