Taxis are an essential social service for many - Kenny MacAskill
Taxis are a hybrid, and not just in the engines of some vehicles plying for hire. It’s that they’re not a private car – except perhaps on the odd occasion when used as such by the driver – but also they’re not exactly public transport, as with a bus or a train.
However, they’re still a vital part of our communities both urban and rural and badly needed for transportation by many. While they may be a luxury for some and an indulgence after a night out for others, they’re a lifeline for many.
Some disabled people depend upon them, as other forms of public transport simply don’t work. Likewise many urgent journeys or deliveries depend on them and couldn’t be managed otherwise.
So we need a vibrant taxi trade and we’ve always been fortunate both in the city and the county with them being a well regulated and well run; and subject to overisght and actions against any who fail to adhere to those high standards. It’s not an easy job either, involving long and often unsocial hours, as well as sadly the occasional nightmare passenger.
Many if not most small businesses have suffered during lockdown. But for the taxi trade its been especially hard as the support available to others hasn’t been forthcoming. Some grants have been paid out but many weren’t, and whilst welcome they were far from enough to even cover running costs, let alone generate an income.
Its why the trade should be getting the same level of assistance that’s being offered elsewhere in the UK and at least the same as in Northern Ireland Its not just about supporting cabbies but for the good of our communities. We need to keep the trade alive. With lockdown easing we need taxis, as the services they provide are essential.