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Not just Sheffield then?

Post by Aftab on Wed 26 Aug 2009 - 22:41

Taxi drivers struggle for 'fare' pay



Chris Addison believes the biggest drop-off has been in the weekday trade

Published Date: 26 August 2009
Could you survive on 20 a day? As pubs and clubs struggle for trade, the knock-on effect is being felt by the Preston's beleaguered cabbies. BEN ROBINSON talks to taxi driver Chris Addison about the problem.
On a bad day, Chris Addison earns an average of 2.50 an hour.

Chris, a 41-year-old father-of-three, has been a driver in Preston for nine years and while the summer is always a quiet time, he claims he has never seen it so bad.

He says: "It is always the quietest time of year people are away on holidays and the kids are off school.

"With the state of the country at the moment it is highlighting it even more.

"From my point of view and from the guys I speak to on a regular basis, there is a massive difference from what it used to be like.

"There are a lot of taxis down there (at the train station).

"You could sit down on a bad day for eight hours and you could go home with 20.

"It is depressing you can imagine sitting down and putting an eight-hour shift in and going home with 20.

"It is not like that everyday but you get plenty of days when you are not making much more."

Chris says his children are understanding of the situation, but it can affect his family life.

He says: "Usually they are not that demanding and they do not ask for too much I am pretty lucky on that sense.

"There are times when they ask for stuff and we say we cannot afford it. Its the way it is."

Chris believes the biggest drop-off has been in the weekday trade.

He says: "You can sit down there for two hours and then when you get it, it is 2.50 around the corner.

"Then you get another 2.50 job that's just the job and we have to accept it."

This drop-off means the weekend trade has become more important but late night fares are also going down.

He says: "Weekends are not what they used to be.

"It is a combination of things smoking ban and the price of beer is why people are not going out.

"It is dead and you are really struggling some weeks to make a living."

Chris is one of scores of taxi drivers who paid for a permit to collect passengers from the train station, but has been affected by Virgin Trains reducing the parking spaces to just 12.

In May 2008 Hackney carriage drivers went on strike and brought the city centre to a near standstill, after Virgin Trains slashed the number of parking spaces to 12, while a new car park was being built.

In June the Lancashire Evening Post revealed the row had threatened to re-ignite if more spaces were not provided.

Chris agrees that insufficient parking, both at the station and in the city centre, is putting further pressure on his job.
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Aftab
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