Scots taxi drivers are being encouraged to stay safe after many Glasgow taxi operators got seriously ill with COVID-19. The Glasgow Taxi Owners’ Association has revealed how over one operator has now fatally died after catching coronavirus in the last weeks.
They have shared their heartfelt sympathies to the families and friends of the dead operators, who are a member of a close-knit group. Through an announcement, Glasgow TOA, stated this: “We are in utter shock after hearing that there are several Glasgow cabbies very ill at the moment with the COVID-19 virus. Sadly more than one have now passed away. Glasgow cabbies are a close knit community and this is absolutely heartbreaking and frightening.”
TOA continued to say that they would love to send their best wishes and strength to those in the recovery journey.
“To the drivers that have lost their lives we are so very sorry and would like to pass on our thoughts and prayers to their loved ones. Please try to stay safe, fellow cabbies.”
The Scottish Taxi Federation who think their members are having to decide between serving their families or keeping safe at residences have raised concerns.
Chairman of the federation, Jim Kyle, stated that operators of taxis that are not the conventional black taxicabs are being urged to risk themselves because of the near vicinity of clients.
He said: “The drivers are in a very difficult situation where they want to keep themselves and their passengers safe but they’ve got to work. They are faced with an ultimatum – don’t pay your bills or feed your family; or go out and take the chance. The government has been very strong in saying stay at home, social distance and no one will suffer but I’m afraid they’ve not got that right, particularly in the taxi trade.”
Also, Mr Kyle stated that government aid forces for the self-employed don’t work for the many of the taxi operators.
“They have said they will give you 80 per cent of your profits back but they have to be more than 50 per cent of your annual turnover,” he said.
Further, he said that in case you are earning £30,000 per year, there are chances that your costs are going to be about £18,000. This is the reason why some operators are having to operate 70 to 80 hours per week.
“If you’re sitting in a taxi for 70 hours during this virus, picking various people up, then by the law of averages, you’re going to get it.”