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Taxi Firms Offer Assistance During Pandemic

Taxi drivers and private hire car drivers are amongst many of the self-employed workers who are suffering from the decrease in demand for their services amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Companies such as private hire taxi firm 659659 in York has lost regular custom such as picking up early morning commuters to and from York railway station, helping elderly customers get to appointments, and the many students from both universities, reports The York Press.

Lee Clarke, one of 659659’s directors said: “The phones have stopped ringing. Compared to two weeks ago we are nearly 50 per cent down in work already. This has really had a big impact on most of our staff. They have all had to take a reduction of hours. The worst thing was having to tell them but they have been really understanding.”

He added that many of the self-employed drivers are not earning enough to pay the firm a subscription. “They pay us a set fee each week and come and work as and when,” he said. “We have cut their subs in half to try and give back to the drivers.”

To help increase business, the company has contacted other local businesses to offer help and support. “We have been around all the big supermarkets offering to help with deliveries for click and collect customers,” said Lee. “We would charge a set fare to the customer to deliver their food.”

“When we told staff at Sainsbury’s, Foss Bank, about some of our elderly customers they gave us six trays of food to give to our customers. When we delivered that they were over the moon. They are regular customers and we knew some would really appreciate it.”

But, among the worry, they have also witnessed kindness towards them and their elderly customers from others.

They have also been helping local pharmacies with the delivery of prescriptions. “We would put it on the customer’s doorstep, ring the bell and stand far away but check they collect it,” said Lee.

He added that their landlord has also been very supportive during these uncertain times. “He emailed me and followed it up with a phone call and said we don’t have to pay rent until this is over. He said we will speak regularly to keep updated.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced that there would be a new measure to support businesses, including allowing self-employed people to claim universal credit and statuary sick pay.

No business will have to hand over VAT until the end of June and will have until next April to pay the backlog. And any employer will be eligible for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are not working but are furloughed.

If you need to book a taxi, then we offer the following advice:

• Any members of the general public who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 should refrain from booking a taxi.

• Pay by card where possible.

• Travel in the back seat where possible to practise distancing.

• Where possible, all customers should load and unload their own luggage.

• If the customer is unable to do so, drivers can wipe the handles before and after lifting the luggage into the vehicle.

If you need a local Basingstoke taxi company, contact us today.

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