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TRAIN STRIKES: Do they help or hinder the taxi industry?

Image credit: Ross Campbell

The latest round of train strikes are about to begin in November, which will cause massive disruption to the transport network across the country, forcing people to change their travel plans.

Those changes to plans might include taking a taxi instead of a train. You might think that taxi drivers benefit from industrial action as a result.

TaxiPoint, the UK’s most read taxi industry news source, put that question to its readers asking whether a national train strike helps or hinders the taxi industry.

The answer depended largely on the location. In areas that rely on large numbers arriving by train, the strikes are seen as a hindrance. In rural areas, where there is no other choice but a taxi, and in towns and cities where the transport network is lacking, it can be seen as an aid to work levels.

Cabbie Aaron Dale said: “Depends on where you work. I work on a train station rank that is used by the commuters from London. When the rail go on strike most of the commuters work from home.”

Aberystwth’s Carian Neill said: “All depends where you live. If you live in rural towns like I do, then there’s no other way for people to travel and are forced to use taxis.”

However, Stewie Forbes said: “Hinder in Shrewsbury, because we get swapped out for coaches.”

Richard Owen concurred saying: “Definitely hindering trade in Tamworth bad enough without the strike action."

Oliver Lane, a Southampton based taxi driver, was more positive about the strikes. He said: “From personal experience it has helped as I have had work that I otherwise would not have had, people still need to travel one way or another.”

The ability to work from home has also meant less people are forced to make the journey in during the industrial action.

Robert Holt said: “They all work from home now instead. Not as good as it was once when a strike was on.”

Overall, while some areas might see spikes in work levels, most are hindered by the lower footfall. That notion was also backed up by Addison Lee’s Chief Executive Liam Griffin who told City A.M it was an ‘urban myth’ that taxi and private hire firms make a fortune during train strikes.

When are the strikes?

Rail union RMT will take strike action on 5, 7 and 9 of November in an ongoing dispute over jobs, conditions and pay.

Network Rail members will be on strike on those days and members working for the train operating companies will take action on 5 November.

In separate disputes, London Underground and Overground (Arriva Rail London) members will take strike action on 10 November.


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