Chorley mum is in charge after taking her own taxi company

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With the help of taxi group Four Sixes, Amy Hodkinson started her own women-only taxi business after a career change following maternity leave.

She went from swimming teacher to entrepreneur, and as the Covid pandemic saw an increase in people being pushed out of their jobs, Amy found another direction.

She is now one of the few women in the industry, with Bloomberg research showing that in 2020 just 2% of England’s black taxi and private hire drivers were women.

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Taxi Driver Amy Hodkinson

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Amy said: “I started driving private cars in December 2014, after maternity leave with my son. I tried to get back to my job as a swimming instructor, but childcare wouldn’t allow it all. just not.

“So when someone told me that a local company was hiring drivers and I was offered to come on board, I didn’t have to think long and hard because of the flexibility and the fact that I would get paid to drive. I love driving, so that was a no-brainer.”

However, Amy’s passion for the job began to wane due to office politics and feeling like “the odd one out”, and she seized the opportunity to join an airport transfer specialist. But when lockdowns hit in 2020, she was forced to find alternative work at Morrisons, then as a delivery driver.

Shaz Malik of Four Sixes Taxis with Amy Hodkinson

Thinking she would never return to private hire, her luck changed when Four Sixes offered her a weekend job and she struck up a conversation with general manager Shaz Malik.

Keen to empower women and better serve customers who feel more comfortable with female drivers, Mr. Malik offered Amy to run one of Four Sixes’ sister companies, C&S Travel, known for its specialist airports.

She said: “Shaz did this just because I told him about the difficulties I had driving taxis for other companies being a woman.

“I have now been back in the world of ride-hailing full-time since November 2021, and I have definitely fallen in love with the job again.”

Amy Hodkinson

Amy said that now that word has spread that she is a driver, there has been a noticeable increase in requests for her weekend services.

She says she is often asked if she is afraid to be a solo driver on a Friday and Saturday night, but the answer is always no.

She said: ‘We are all fully monitored throughout our shift, we have a way of bringing attention to any potential issues with the panic function on our PDA (personal digital assistant), but most importantly, I know I have a whole family of drivers who would be there at a moment’s notice if I needed them!”

She added: “Shaz Malik has shown me massive support over the last few months, he has really gone above and beyond. He is clearly driven by seeing other people happy and accomplished, and will stop at nothing. to help these achievements happen.”

Mr Malik said: “Women in the taxi industry should definitely be recognized more. Operators across the country should support women and there should be a special day for female taxi drivers around the world.”

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