Taxi bosses say a cabbie crisis which saw forced city firms to cancel trips is finally starting to ease.

Increasing costs and a driver shortage meant companies had to be selective over which jobs they took last year, but now companies say costs have begun to fall.

Despite the improvements, taxi firms still face stiff competition from delivery apps such Deliveroo and Uber Eats for new drivers, with those opting for food services facing less regulation and lower costs.

Previously companies reported that drivers had taken up other jobs temporarily during the Covid lockdowns and then decided the lifestyle of fewer working hours was more manageable for them as a long-term option.

Norwich Evening News: Taxis in Norwich city centreTaxis in Norwich city centre (Image: Newsquest)

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Bosses say new cabbies are forced to fork out thousands before they have even hit the road on licences, training and a car, with the cheapest vehicle on the market currently costing about £42,000.

Adam Allenden at Tan Cars, which is based in Wymondham, said fuel costs were slowly decreasing but the driver issue was still a sticking point for the business.

Norwich Evening News: Adam Allenden of Tan CarsAdam Allenden of Tan Cars (Image: Adam Allenden)

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He said: "Thankfully the fuel thing is eventually sorting itself out, last year we had that massive spike but now things are getting back to normal.

"But to be honest we're still struggling for drivers, we're stuck with what we've got.

"The cost to get started is a massive barrier, if you do food or parcel delivery you don't have half of that, you can pretty much start straight away.

"It's a shame really."

Norwich Evening News: The cabbie crisis is easing according to taxi firmsThe cabbie crisis is easing according to taxi firms (Image: Newsquest)

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But controller Steve Douglas at Goldstar Taxis in Whiffler Road said his company was bucking the trend in hiring drivers.

He said: "We seem to have solved the driver issue here, but the overheads are not improving that much.

"We're finding things are still expensive but thankfully we are in a position where we can take jobs on without worry."

It is thought a Norwich City Council backlog in approving taxi licence applications has started to clear, giving companies a better chance at acquiring new staff.