MORE than 70 people responded to a campaign by Wiltshire Council to encourage people to become taxi drivers.
As many as 71 people applied to address the shortage of taxi drivers serving local communities across the county after the campaign launched in April.
The council says taxis are a vital part of Wiltshire’s transport network, providing a valuable service to the local community, but there is a shortage of drivers.
Not only does the community need taxi drivers, Wiltshire Council also needs reliable drivers to fulfill its growing number of school and social SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) contracts.
The contracts provide regular work and hours and also help and support some of Wiltshire’s most vulnerable people.
Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, Cabinet Member for Transport said; “Taxis are an essential part of our transport network, providing a valuable service to the local community.
“Even before the Covid pandemic there was a shortage of taxi drivers in Wiltshire with a lower number of registered drivers compared to other counties and since the pandemic the numbers have fallen further.
“In April we launched a recruiting campaign on behalf of the taxi trade across the county to encourage more people to become taxi drivers and it received a very positive response with 71 applications received from people wishing to become taxi drivers since April.
“Being a taxi driver is a flexible job and you can either work for a taxi company or be your own boss. Local taxi companies have lots of vacancies and there are lots of opportunities and lots of work available.
“Wiltshire Council also needs reliable taxi drivers to fulfill our growing number of school and social contracts.
“These contracts provide regular work and hours and help and support some of the most vulnerable people in Wiltshire.
“People can learn more about how to become a taxi driver and our school and social contracts by visiting wiltshire.gov.uk/licenses-permits-transport.”
Wiltshire Council has many contracts available which start at around £30 per day for short journeys, increasing to £250+ per day for longer journeys.
Drivers are free to combine these contracts with rank work. Becoming a taxi driver takes around six weeks and costs around £400.