A private taxi driver explained why he believes so many people have left the industry, leaving Merseyside with a ‘critical shortage’ of drivers.
Last week, ECHO revealed that there is a severe shortage of taxi drivers in the region, with one of the region’s largest companies saying it needs 500 new drivers just to keep up with current demand.
Alpha Taxis boss James Bradley said many drivers were forced to leave the industry during the pandemic – with many citing health concerns – and that replacing those who left has proven to be very difficult.
Read more:Drivers send warning to anyone trying to take a taxi in Liverpool this weekend
Our story came after many people contacted to say they are finding it increasingly difficult to get taxis and private hire cars when traveling in Liverpool and the region today.
But a driver who contacted ECHO said there were other factors at play and the cost of being a driver is forcing many to quit their jobs.
The driver, who only asked to be known as Ray, works for one of the region’s largest private hire companies, is registered with Sefton Council but also works across Liverpool.
He said: “One of the main reasons for the shortage is the cost of being a driver.”
Ray is self-employed and gave a breakdown of what it costs to operate as a driver and how much it leaves him each week.
He said: “I would like to give you an example of what a driver earns, the numbers I’m referring to are my real earrings from last week. (Some drivers take more and others a lot less).
“I worked 67 hours and took £ 1,030.60, it looks fantastic at 3:38 pm an hour.
“However, when you break it down and remove your expenses, which include a £ 120 car payout, a £ 180 payout for the operator and £ 100 fuel, it comes down to a weekly wage of £ 630 before tax. “
He added: “It’s £ 91.41 per day. The drivers are just gone to do other driving jobs where they can pick up 9-10 pounds an hour without any expense.
“There are too many greedy taxi and garage operators tending the cars.”
Ray also said too many local operators are now hiring drivers from places as far apart as the Bolton, Wolverhampton and Manchester plates and said Liverpool was “inundated” with Uber drivers from out of town.
Ray, who has had his private hire badge for five years, added: “It’s just not a job you can work 40 hours a week and make a living with.
“40 hours would only bring in a net pay of around £ 280, while driving full-time for Iceland or Asda would bring in £ 360 hassle-free.”
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