The world has changed. As we all try to navigate a ‘new normal’, how we choose to travel for work and pleasure is no longer a foregone conclusion.
For those living in the capital, road user charging schemes are not just back… they’re more expensive. The tube, buses and the overground are running a limited service due to illness, TfL staff self-isolating or (quite rightly) staff concerns over safety. The net result is train overcrowding.
Across the rest of the country the impact on trains and buses varies, but there are generally less services – which makes social distancing difficult if not impossible.
Through it all the private hire taxi trade has not just survived, but in some cases actually thrived. The likes of Wrexham & Prestige, Hastings Private Hire, Huddersfield Taxis and Hawk Express Taxis (to highlight but a few) have utilised discounts for NHS staff and care workers to keep our hospitals functioning. They’ve set up food parcel delivery services for the most vulnerable in society and have been working with local councils to ensure patients can travel to and from appointments. They’ve also made sure the children of key workers can make it to school.
Firms such as DG Cars in Nottingham and Radio Taxis Southampton have embraced delivery work to keep their fleet moving and their drivers earning – be it takeaway deliveries or parcels and packages on behalf of couriers; these aren’t just temporary distractions, but new revenue streams which will continue for years to come.
When it comes to business travel, the green shoots of recovery are beginning to show. Although we’re a long way from travelling across the country to attend client meetings, trade shows and corporate away-days, more and more people are returning to work – and they now have a choice to make about the method of transportation they’re comfortable using.
Getting people to work safely – Now more than ever it’s imperative that employers embrace flexibility in working practices – both where staff work and how they travel for work purposes. For smaller businesses that can be as simple as setting up an account with your local taxi firm for both pre-booked and on-demand trips. Not only will this mean preferential fares, most private hire taxi firms treat account work as priority work – giving your staff the edge over other customers looking to book during peak times. Larger companies may want to enforce travel policies with a greater emphasis on duty of care – in this case you should approach your TMC and enquire about their taxi offering through vetted networks such as iGo which offers a nationwide on-demand service across multiple sites if required.
A cleaner and more hygienic way to travel – Given the choice between travelling on a busy train carriage or with a single driver, most employees would choose the latter. Many firms are installing screens between the front and back seats and all the firms we work with have implemented strict car cleaning and hygiene protocols. Set up a business account with a local firm which offers an app, web or corporate account portal – removing the need to pay for trips by cash as the account can be settled by card or invoice, remotely. The added benefit of booking by app is the ability to track the car’s progress – employees need only head outside their home or office when the car arrives.
The private hire trade has shown the nation that it is an integral part of the local community, a lifeline for our most vulnerable and part of the very fabric of society with drivers going above and beyond to fulfil jobs. They’ve supported the nation throughout this crisis, and now they need your help in return.
So the next time you think travel, think taxi.