Taxi driver numbers slashed by half due to Covid-19 pandemic

5 November 2021, 14:22

The UK's taxi and private hire industry is short of 160,000 drivers
The UK's taxi and private hire industry is short of 160,000 drivers. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

A shortage of taxi drivers as the nation heads out of the Covid-19 pandemic has sparked safety warnings from an industry body.

The Licensed Private Car Hire Association (LPCHA) has warned that more than half of licensed drivers have left the industry since the beginning of the pandemic.

The LPCHA estimates the 300,000-strong workforce is down by 160,000 - prompting safety fears for women and workers trying to get home at night.

The Office for National Statistics published figures in August that showed 49 per cent of women do not feel safe walking alone after dark.

The LPHCA say fees alongside backlogs for criminal and medical checks have caused a "perfect storm" with drivers having to pay up to £600 to their local council just to obtain a year's licence.

There are also minicab shortages in London, with drivers regularly turning down journeys due to poor rates after a switch in pay levels last Christmas.

Read more: Pfizer antiviral pill cuts Covid-19 hospitalisation risk by nearly 90 per cent

Read more: Hollyoaks' Sarah Jayne Dunn tells LBC move to OnlyFans was 'best decision I've ever made'

Caller argues female-only taxis would improve women's safety at night

It is estimated up to 80 per cent of journeys are being turned down by minicabs in the capital.

Experts have warned that the crisis is now worse than the HGV driver shortage with taxi drivers switching to food delivery jobs or parcel delivery for companies such as Amazon.

It has prompted some local councils to take urgent action, in Torbay, Devon, the council have cut the cost of licensing to just £50 in a bid to get more drivers behind the wheel.

Read more: Cleo Smith kidnap suspect winks as he's taken to maximum security prison

Read more: Bedsit killer: hotline for distraught families over fears he abused hundreds of corpses

But the last ditch attempt has so far only provided Torbay with half of the taxi drivers they need.

A spokesperson from the Department for Transport said: "While provision of taxi licences is the responsibility of Local Authorities, we continue to work with industry groups to address concerns over potential shortages.

"Throughout the pandemic we have supported private hire vehicle drivers through grants from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme."

The DfT plan to revise licensing guidelines for taxi drivers, but consultations are not expected until next year.

It has prompted safety fears after research by the ONS found both men and women both feel less safe walking after dark on quiet streets close to home, busy public spaces and parks or open spaces.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Spain’s embassy in the Palermo neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Spain withdraws ambassador to Argentina over comments made by President Milei

Former US president Donald Trump sits in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York

Defence rests without Donald Trump entering witness box in hush money trial

British pensioner, 73, killed during London-Singapore flight named as musical theatre director Geoffrey Kitchen

Pictured: Pensioner, 73, killed during London-Singapore flight named as British musical theatre director

Tiny Toes nursery in Stockport

Second worker from nursery where nine-month-old baby was killed is charged with neglect

Exclusive
The two relatives of the hostages appealed for the Israeli government to push for a ceasefire.

Relatives of hostages held by Hamas after October 7 attacks urge Israeli government to reach ceasefire

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock in Kyiv, Ukraine

Germany’s foreign minister says air defences for Ukraine an ‘absolute priority’

Donald Trump's hush money trial defence rests without ex-President testifying - despite claiming he wanted to take stand

Donald Trump's hush money trial defence rests without ex-President testifying - despite claiming he wanted to take stand

'Genuinely dangerous to be Jewish' near London's pro-Palestinian marches, Michael Gove says

'Genuinely dangerous to be Jewish' near London's pro-Palestinian marches, Michael Gove says

Relatives of victims pose with the Infected Blood Inquiry final report as they gather outside Westminster

Infected blood victims to receive £210,000 payment within weeks, paymaster general confirms

The granddaughter of Elvis Presley is fighting plans to publicly auction his Graceland estate in Memphis

Elvis Presley’s granddaughter fights company’s attempt to sell Graceland estate

Elon Musk

Tesla shareholders ask investors to vote against Musk’s compensation package

Mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash

Mourners begin days of funerals for Iran’s president killed in helicopter crash

British pensioner, 73, dead after 'heart attack' when London-Singapore flight plummeted during severe turbulence

British pensioner, 73, dead after 'heart attack' when London-Singapore flight plummeted during severe turbulence

England's Euro 2024 squad has been revealed in full

Rashford and Henderson to miss out on Euro 2024 as England squad unveiled by Gareth Southgate

One passenger died and several people were injured after the flight experience severe turbulence

'The plane just dropped': Passengers tell of terror as flight plunges in ‘severe turbulence’ leaving one dead

Angeline Mahal, aged in her 50s, was attacked in her Hornchurch home.

Woman mauled to death by her 2 XL Bully dogs pictured - as it emerges her family ‘begged to get rid of them’