Wiltshire Council pays tribute to taxi and private hire drivers helping community during COVID-19

Wiltshire Council has worked with a network of “amazing volunteer and community groups” across the county to provide vital support and services to people most in need during the COVID-19 outbreak.

One such group to assist the county-wide response, is a legion of taxi and private hire drivers, who in normal times provide contractor support to the council's Passenger Transport Unit, taking children to and from school settings across Wiltshire.

With school transport support and private hire work significantly reduced by COVID-19, the team of taxi operators have volunteered their spare time and transportation capabilities to assist the council with many outreach activities.

These include:

  • Delivery of council emergency food parcels to vulnerable people

  • Dispatch of PPE to hospitals, care homes and other frontline services

  • Supporting pharmacies with the delivery of prescriptions

  • Providing urgent transport to support the homeless team providing shelter for homeless people in Wiltshire

  • Delivering emergency pet food to vulnerable residents with pets

  • Transporting vulnerable and key worker children to schools

  • Bringing chocolate joy with the delivery of thousands of donated Easter eggs to schools, nurseries, foodbanks and other good causes.

The team has provided logistical support whenever and wherever it was required, offering much welcomed additional capability to the council to transport people and vital supplies across the whole of Wiltshire, sometimes at very short notice.

Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Waste said: "I'd like to thank all the taxi operators involved for their work to support the council, our communities and partners during the COVID-19 crisis.  The team is a great example of the volunteering spirit that's been evident across Wiltshire since the pandemic started.

"The taxi industry has been hit significantly over recent months due to the Government lockdown to slow and control the transmission of COVID-19.  The efforts of these organisations to help others in need whilst they themselves have been impacted, is recognised and much appreciated."

Aly Murray of Abbey Taxis in Swindon said: "I have enjoyed delivering PPE to care homes, food parcels to those self-isolating or vulnerable and even Easter eggs to schools. It has been good doing something that is useful and necessary in these difficult times."

Clark Ferguson of Duncan Private Hire in Melksham said: "During COVID-19, we have continued to deliver "Home to School" transport for vulnerable and key worker children, and have used our vehicles and drivers to support both planned and short notice tasks on behalf of Wiltshire Council's Passenger Transport Unit. We have been proud to support the council's response to the pandemic -  delivering prescriptions, emergency food parcels, PPE, student learning resources and donations of Easter eggs and hand sanitiser across the county."

Image credit: Wiltshire Council

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