Those looking to catch a cab this summer may find themselves stranded after taxi drivers revealed they are being forced to reject jobs if the journey isn't close enough.

Cabbies in the city are facing a recruitment crisis - meaning those on the roads are squeezing themselves to get to as many jobs as quickly as possible.

And drivers are leaving the industry in their droves, bosses added, with many taking up jobs as delivery drivers for fast food companies or supermarkets.

This is as a result of cabbies taking up other jobs temporarily during the Covid lockdowns and then deciding the lifestyle of fewer working hours was more manageable for them as a long-term option.

As a result some taxi firms are turning customers away to save on fuel and manage the cost of living crisis.

Craig Dimbleby, who is a black cab driver in Norwich, said: "The industry has absolutely changed since Covid.

"A lot of taxi drivers went to Sainsbury's or Amazon during Covid and realised it was an easier lifestyle.

Norwich Evening News: Craig Dimbleby who is a taxi driver in NorwichCraig Dimbleby who is a taxi driver in Norwich

"Before Covid I was myself working 70 hours a week. We are undervalued and underappreciated.

"It just feels like we are getting it from all quarters and there is a general nastiness among some customers towards us - especially at night.

"We feel sorry for ourselves and when you think you could work 37 hours a week elsewhere it becomes a more desirable and comfortable life option."

The 57-year-old cab driver said he will be likely to pack in his job after 30 years when his current car deal expiries in two years time.

This is because he feels he cannot justify paying the price of a new Hackney cab with the cheapest price on the market currently around £42,500.

Steve Douglas, a controller at Goldstar Taxis in Whiffler Road, said staffing levels at the company are 35pc down compared to pre-pandemic levels.

He calculated that the average amount of Goldstar cabs on city roads was around 25 to 30 on average per day pre-pandemic but is now down to 20.

He added Brexit has also seen the large eastern European pool of drivers in the Fine City decimated.

Mr Douglas added: "Brexit has been a big factor as the eastern European pool of drivers are now not meeting the criteria.

"There is a combination of things such as more comfortable hours elsewhere. It has been difficult trying to replace the ones who have left."

As a result of the shortage of drivers and the cost of living crisis, Mr Douglas said Goldstar Taxis has had to "reduce the dead miles" to ensure a higher volume of work.

This has meant they can only collect customers near others they have dropped up to save fuel - which has meant turning some bookings down.

Adam Allenden, a taxi driver at Wymondham-based Tan Cars said: "There is definitely a shortage of drivers at the moment. It can take a while to find drivers to be honest.

"I have heard a lot of taxi drivers in Norwich are either going to Amazon or Just Eat and Deliveroo."

Norwich Evening News: Adam Allenden, a driver for Tan Cars which is based in WymondhamAdam Allenden, a driver for Tan Cars which is based in Wymondham (Image: Adam Allenden)

Some taxi firms are also calling on the city council to play its part in helping to address the current issues in the industry.

Day driver manager Chris Ford of ABC Taxis said: "We would like to see the council streamline the application process a bit more. It takes a long time for drivers to get through the licensing process.

"Since Covid the application process has slowed down immensely at City Hall."

Mr Ford believes pre-pandemic applications usually took around six weeks to be completed but he estimates this has now increased to 12 weeks.

Norwich Evening News: Chris Ford of ABC Taxis. Picture: Chris FordChris Ford of ABC Taxis. Picture: Chris Ford (Image: Chris Ford)

A city council spokeswoman said there is currently a backlog with licence applications which the authority is working through as quickly as possible.

This backlog is due to a rise in all licence application types - particularly pavement licences - which has caused additional pressures.

The taxi staffing problems have not had an impact on city charities which support elderly people and those with disabilities however.

This is because charities such as Age UK have partnerships with specialised services such as Door to Door which provides specific mobility transport.