Taxi drivers’ union RMT is calling on the government to use Taxis to create a fifth emergency service during the coronavirus crisis, to mitigate the isolation of families facing increasing levels of lockdown. As the government closes schools and imposes more restrictions on movement to control the spread of the virus, families are facing increasing isolation.
There have been reports of older and vulnerable people struggling to travel to shops, while pharmacies face difficulties in delivering the volume of prescriptions needed. Official advice is urging people not to use public transport. The union highlights the urgent need for a trusted, high quality ‘drop off’ service able to connect people from their front doors to shops, pharmacies and other critical services.
As a result, the RMT is calling on the government to use the Licenced Taxi trade to create a vital lifeline between isolated people and services during the coronavirus crisis by creating an emergency public service staffed by Licenced Taxi drivers paid a temporary government salary. This measure would throw a vital economic lifeline to more than 75,000 self-employed taxi drivers who are facing the collapse of their trade across the UK. The measure would also echo the kind of mobilization of taxis that took place during the Blitz, with many vehicles and drivers drafted into the Auxiliary Fire Service.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “This is a win-win idea for the government. At this time of crisis, we have increasingly isolated communities and families needing door-to-door contact with shops and critical services, being advised not to use public transport, and we have more than 75,000 highly skilled, trusted Licenced taxi drivers who need a lifeline to survive. “This is a time for government to show imagination and resolve and match a highly skilled resource to an increasingly desperate need.”
Image credit: Ross Campbell