Local News

Crewe-based Taxi Insurer Leads Drive to Halt Christmas Crisis

A national shortage of taxi drivers has prompted one of the UK’s leading insurance brokers to demand immediate action to protect lives as the Christmas party season approaches.

insureTAXI, part of The County Group based in Crewe, is urging local authorities to slash the hefty cost of applying for a licence to help more drivers to get behind the wheel.

The company, a major insurer of new and experienced taxi drivers, says they should follow the example of Torbay Council in Devon which has responded to the crisis by dramatically reducing application costs.

Managing director Alastair Christopherson said: “The Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) estimates the industry is short of 160,000 of the previously 300,000-strong workforce after many drivers left due to the pandemic.

“These figures are worrying and potentially lives will be put at risk unless local authorities do something about the hefty fees associated with applying for a licence.

“One council taking a proactive approach to tackle the shortage is Torbay in Devon where they have slashed the cost of licensing to just £50 to get more drivers behind the wheel.

“We applaud them for this and hope others will follow suit.”

Currently a new driver must apply to their local council for a licence, which can cost up to £600 a year. They must also obtain a criminal record check and a full medical check, as well as the famous ‘Knowledge’ examination in some cases.

A backlog in licensing and registration of vehicles, as well as criminal and medical checks for drivers, have led to what the LPHCA have described as ‘a perfect storm’.

Mr Christopherson added: “Taxi drivers come into their own at night and play a vital role in protecting public safety. The national shortage is already causing major issues up and down the country.

“There are alarming reports of people and workers not being able to get home at night and we need to act now.

“With Christmas party season round the corner the supply needs to catch up fast.”

At the height of the pandemic insureTaxi extended insurance policies to allow taxi drivers to carry out voluntary work giving ‘rides’ to small parcels, takeaways and shopping destined for NHS staff and vulnerable people.

The company is the taxi arm of The County Group – one of the UK’s top 25 brokers based on Crewe Business Park.

For more information go to insureTAXI or call 0333 200 0071.