Updated: Aug 26, 2022
Transport and accommodation solutions firm CMAC Group has urged the Government to provide an ‘extra incentive’ to former taxi drivers who have recently exited the industry to return.
The comment comes in the wake of the recent train strikes which has had a knock-on effect on other transport systems, including taxi drivers, across England.
Taxi drivers, who usually rely on rail commuters, were reported to be waiting for hours outside stations for jobs, with one Sheffield driver only making £6 in a whole day. In some regions that scenario is flipped around to the other extreme where demand for taxis grossly outweighs the supply offered to travellers seeking to complete journeys, putting drivers under intense pressure.
There remains a shortage of taxi and private hire drivers nationally since coronavirus restrictions were fully dropped earlier this year. CMAC group is calling for more action from the Government to help tackle a ‘fundamental travel infrastructure issue’.
Neil Micklethwaite, Chief Operating Officer at CMAC Group, said: “The impact and knock-on effect of the recent rail strikes was completely underestimated. With recent strikes on 20 August we once again expected another surge in demand, with disruption continuing into non-strike days and alternative transport providers, such as taxis, helping keep the country moving.
“As we have previously stated, CMAC is committed to supporting the travelling public and have already seen demand for alternative modes of travel at 37% higher than pre-pandemic levels. Given Covid-19 ravaged many of the supporting industries on which we rely – like the taxi industry – we now have a fundamental travel infrastructure issue to address.
“Once again, we would like to highlight our previously reported findings from speaking to taxi drivers to understand why they are leaving the industry. Our focus is to try to develop measures of support to attract and retain more of them. Nearly a quarter of drivers left the industry due to stress, a further 21% said it wasn’t a financially viable career and 17% couldn’t afford to keep their vehicle during lockdowns. Furthermore, one in five were unable to renew their licenses and continue their careers or had their vehicle repossessed, affecting their credit rating and ability to return to the industry.
“As well as considering rail workers, the Government and local authorities need to double-down and overhaul their approach to other parts of the transport system, ensuring a provision of financial support and safeguarding for small businesses, employees and the self-employed involved in providing transport for the public. We’re calling on them to review the licensing renewal processes for taxi drivers to help keep more of them on the roads and provide an extra incentive for drivers who’ve exited the industry to return - they provided a crucial part of the transport eco-system already and this strike action has shown how much they are truly needed.”