'It nearly crippled us': City taxi drivers in short supply

East Suffolk Council has approved a Hackney Carriage fare increase for the first time in eight years

Taxi drivers in Norwich are hard to come by, bosses in the industry say - Credit: Archant

City taxi ranks are getting sparser with cab firms unable to find drivers. 

New cabbies are few and far between - with companies struggling so much they can't even afford to recruit. 

A spokesman at Green Frog Taxis in Dereham Road said the phones were "constantly lit up". 

But, a spokesman added that they simply haven't got the staff to keep up with demand. 

He said: "A lot of drivers had to leave during the pandemic because they had families to feed and couldn’t get work. 

“Unfortunately, those drivers haven’t come back and we haven’t been able to get new drivers.” 

He said that many taxi companies are struggling for drivers at the moment, but that Green Frog isn’t even in a position where it can advertise. 

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He said: “For us to spend money on advertising, I have to wait for the trade to build up properly. But we can’t get the trade until we have the drivers, so it’s a catch 22. 

“The pandemic nearly crippled everyone but we are slowly building back up again.” 

Elsewhere in the city ABC has managed to turn a corner thanks to its shift policy. 

Marketing manager Chris Harvey said: “We have changed the way we work and it’s really helped to keep us moving. Before our drivers were shifted, whereas now they are given more freedom in the way they work.” 

ABC Taxis lost 80pc of passengers at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Sonya Duncan

ABC said its flexible working approach has helped it recruit staff - Credit: Sonya Duncan

He added: “We've found our main challenges since the pandemic were supplying drivers in busier times like the summer holidays, but now we are looking stronger

“We have to give our drivers incentives so that we aren’t short on the weekends or late evenings and early mornings, but we are finding that drivers are coming to us.” 

Mr Harvey said that before the pandemic ABC taxis had around 230 drivers and post-pandemic they are up to about 285 drivers.  

And he puts it all down to the company's flexible working policy: “I think that’s what makes working for ABC attractive, drivers are free to pick and choose when that work.”