Taxi drivers

Taxi drivers ‘crying and begging for money’ as crisis leaves them with no income

Taxi drivers would be left without income due to a backlog in badge applications.

In what has been described as the biggest crisis the industry has ever seen, drivers ‘cried and begged’ for money, saying they couldn’t support their families.

Businesses have expressed fears for the future if no action is taken as drivers cannot get to work due to major delays.

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ECHO has previously reported on a shortage of drivers caused by the pandemic, but business owners say the situation is much worse because these drivers want to work but cannot.

This means it is ‘almost impossible’ to get a taxi to and from Liverpool city center and around Merseyside.

Joe Johnson, of Berry Street Garage in Bootle, said Sefton Council was “falling behind” in renewing badge applications, new vehicle applications and licences.

He said he had dozens of cars in his garage that couldn’t be used because they didn’t yet have the necessary plates, meaning drivers can’t go to work.

He added: “Sefton Council is putting drivers on the red line, particularly in the run up to Christmas.

Even vehicle renewals are not on time and they don’t care.

“Everyone is struggling, even Delta and it’s getting worse and worse. It’s a crisis. I’ve had drivers at my door crying, begging for money because they might be evicted from their homes, they have no income.

“During Covid a lot of drivers left the taxi business for other jobs but it’s the busiest time of the year. We have a long list of drivers out of work because they don’t have what they need.The service is not fit for purpose.

“I’ve been in the business for 20 years and this is the worst I’ve ever seen. They can’t keep blaming Covid. Other advice has cut the waiting list down to days why are we waiting weeks ?



Vehicles are lined up, unable to be used, due to major delays

“The council is not allowing these people to work. There is no shortage of drivers, they just can’t work because they don’t have a car.

“It has a ripple effect because if people can’t get taxis they won’t get out, which will impact the economy and things will shut down.

“I fear for the future, I’ve never known it was so serious, I’ve never been so afraid for the taxi business. It’s the biggest crisis I’ve seen.”

Joe, who is also a committee member for the Sefton Licensing and Regulatory Committee, said all communication must be by email, but such emails are “ignored”, leading to an even bigger backlog.

He said: “A driver lost two months of insurance after filing his claim in October and still hasn’t heard back. He has a family and can’t afford food or gifts with no income.

“You have grown men crying because they can’t support themselves. We’re trying our best but no one cares, it’s tragic. There’s no reason for these people to be Unemployed.

“The whole business is complaining, it’s so worrying and yes, I’m scared for the future.”

These thoughts were echoed by another local company who told ECHO that the situation is the same for large fleets and private companies.



The taxi industry
The taxi industry “is facing the biggest crisis ever seen”

The manager, who did not wish to be named, said: “Before Covid you could pick up a car and put it back on the road the same day, now it’s about a 10 week wait.

“We are trying to rebuild our businesses but the council is putting barriers in the way. Drivers cannot be paid because we are waiting on plaques. We have cars lined up just waiting.

“We’ve been let down. The last 18 months have been pretty tough, we’ve been put in the gutter and as we try to get back on our feet, we can’t.

“I’m surprised our business is still going strong after the last few months, but now it’s amazing. I have really upset drivers, not knowing what they can do for Christmas.

“People are worried and yet nothing is being done.”

A spokesman for Sefton Council said: ‘All taxi owners can apply for their plate renewal 28 days before their current plate expires, so there should be no reason for anyone to be without one.

“We encourage all licensees to apply for their license renewals as soon as possible and to continue to share clear guidance on the evidence needed to ensure the process is smooth and quick.

“In order to support current taxi drivers in our borough, we have a temporary pause on new driver license applications, but this will be reviewed in mid-January and an update will be provided to commerce and on the website. advice.

“Our customer service teams and licensing agents have been dedicated to working with taxi drivers and businesses during two challenging years for everyone. They have continued to support drivers by ensuring that all driver and vehicle licenses are processed in a timely manner.

“Further information on the application process can be found on the Sefton Council website at www.sefton.gov.uk/taxi

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