Wokingham Taxi Drivers have been suffering hard like every other service providing people in the UK. Covid-19 has certainly hit businesses of many industries globally. From the service sector to B2C, every industry is finding it hard to gear up for profitable business. The same can be witnessed in Wokingham, England, where taxi drivers have “given up” as the pandemic has caused a significant blow to their business.
These desperate taxi drivers have said to the Wokingham Borough Council that there is no work for them in Borough.
Since many companies have still asked their employees for work for home, people are not getting out unless there is no work, taxi drivers are failing to get work.
Members of the committee were told that some of the drivers now have taken other jobs like deliveries for restaurants, and others are looking for taxi fares.
“Several people have handed their licence in and given up,” Cllr Lindsay Ferris told a meeting of the council’s Agenda Licensing and Appeals Committee.
“We need to help this part of the community. It has been extremely badly affected.” Rachel further added. “They are still getting some business, but I reckon it’s 10 to 15 per cent of what they got before.”
The Chair of the committee said, “The hackney carriage taxi drivers are having a pretty rough time at the moment and like a lot of businesses are suffering from the massive loss of trade through the pandemic. They’ve also got the possibility of organisations like Uber who we rightly regard as not trading fairly with the hackney carriage drivers, and more recently the ten o’clock curfew isn’t going to help either.”
Committee has agreed to suspend a specific rule stating drivers cannot use private hire vehicle which is over eight-years-old or hackney carries car older than 15.
The council had also suspended the rule stating that when the driver’s vehicle reached its age limit, they can keep it only on the road if it passes the RACs advance inspection costing 190.
Cllr Chris Bowring said, “It’s something of very little consequence to the public, but quite a bit of money for the drivers. In the present circumstances, regardless of how many drivers are in this position, it would be a good thing.”
Wokingham Borough Council has also reduced this year’s licensing fee for taxi drivers by 40.
Cllr Burgess feels that drivers are being let down due to the council’s licensing committee decision. She said, “We’ve said the pandemic has massively hit them, but six months in what has this committee done to help them? I’m worried that whatever we agree now, for many of them it’s too little too late.”
She further added, “As a committee, we should have been reviewing the measures we can take to support the trade – not just taxis – way before now and not being a barrier to them continuing in operation. This committee has failed, at least in part, to do its job properly this year and I do think people’s livelihoods have suffered as a result of that.”