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Taxi users urged to be patient with local Taxi services following incidents of abuse

Article date - 06 July 2021

The public are being urged to show extra consideration for local taxi drivers in the borough following some worrying incidents of abuse over the last few weeks.
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Taxi operators across the borough have been under intense pressure since the start of the pandemic with business substantially affected by the effects of lockdown and other measures. Nationally driver numbers are down around 25 per cent since before the pandemic and are struggling to keep up with demand.

 

Operators are confident that they can manage the requests for taxis but are unable to provide vehicles as promptly as they were before the pandemic.  Average wait times are a little longer than normal but the message is clear, they will get to you.

 

There have been some incidents of abuse towards taxi drivers and operators in the borough in recent months, both in person and on social media, which is very hard when they are trying to deliver their services in a professional manner.  In a recent incident, a male spat in the face of an operator who couldn’t obtain them a vehicle straight away.  This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable and we would urge the public to remember that we are still in a pandemic, we must do all we can to keep each other safe.

 

To help drivers stay safe in their taxis during the pandemic, St Helens Council has distributed 10,000 free face masks and hand gels which can be offered to customers who have forgotten their own safety measures.

 

Cllr Jeanie Bell, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Taxi drivers in St Helens have had to endure an extremely tough time during the last twelve months but the abuse they have received from some customers recently is now terrible.

 

“Despite the considerable pressures they have been facing our licensed operators have continued to provide an invaluable service to the local community, often to vulnerable residents who urgently rely on the service they provide at this time.

 

“It is important that drivers can keep their cabs Covid safe at this time, it protects both themselves and their customers and we would ask people using taxis in the borough to respect this and support the very important work they are doing.”

 

“Our licensed drivers are doing their job in very difficult  and challenging conditions at present  and the hostility they have encountered with some customers is making their job even harder.

 

“The priority for both ourselves and our drivers is to make taxis a safe environment to travel in for themselves and their customers during the current pandemic and we would ask people to respect this and support their efforts. Driver numbers have already fallen because of the impact of Coronavirus and we do not want increase this problem further because of these kind of incidents.”