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TAXI DRIVER SHORTAGES: Local authorities may need to ‘take their responsibilities seriously’

Image credit: Ross Campbell

Glasgow taxi drivers have suggested it may be time for local authorities to ‘take their responsibilities seriously’ instead of ‘passing the buck’ as a shortage of taxi drivers during peak-times in the city frustrates revellers.

To help the public locate available cabs, taxi drivers are calling for local authorities to do more to clamp down on vehicles blocking centrally located ranks.

Driver shortages at peak-times are now prominent across Scotland, and the UK, as demand for the vital service returns after a horrific 18-months endured by the taxi industry.

Work levels dried up as coronavirus restrictions were put in place. This pushed many drivers to either retire from the industry or seek different employment instead.

Throughout the pandemic Unite Glasgow Cab Section union asked both Glasgow City Council and Scottish Government for financial support to help drivers through a devastating period of low work levels. However, according to taxi drivers in Glasgow the industry was ‘overlooked’ for financial support and drivers now no longer wish to return to working excessively long hours each week for a low-wage return.

A Unite Glasgow Cab Section spokesperson said: “If press reports are to be believed there’s a drought of taxis out there to service the public. The truth of the mater is, the same number of taxis exist as before the pandemic, however, like the bus and HGV sectors, we are currently experiencing a shortage of drivers.

“Overlooked for financial support by Glasgow City Council, and no longer willing to work 60-70 hours per week for minimum wage, many have chosen to leave the trade, not to mention no Topographic exams were held for over a year.

“The reality of the situation is, we are currently experiencing some shortages, predominantly at peak periods on Saturday nights, which seems to be the evening the majority choose to head out. The rest of the week sees no such shortages. Friday night at midnight saw George Square amongst others, filled with taxis on the rank with little to no work.

“Saturday nights are not helped however by the inaccessibility of key ranks, which are fully occupied with parked cars. Unite have tirelessly raised the matter with both the Council and Police Scotland for the past few years, only for it to fall on deaf ears, with one passing responsibility to the other. The result of this inaction causes the public to either wander aimlessly in search of a taxi, or gravitate to Gordon St which exacerbates the issues of an already busy rank.

“Perhaps it’s time the authorities took their responsibilities seriously instead of continually passing the buck.”


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