Taxi drivers are struggling to “make ends meet” as they battle plenty of issues similar to the price of gas spiralling uncontrolled.
Vice chairman of Private Drivers Hire Association Bury, Raja Naveed Aijaz, stated these on the frontline of the trade are struggling due to plenty of components together with rocketing petrol station prices.
Minimum licensing requirements in Greater Manchester and fewer stricter guidelines in Wolverhampton and Sefton Council are additionally resulting in drivers getting their licences in these authorities fairly than in Bury, Mr Aijaz stated.
Mr Aijaz, who works for Uber and has been within the trade for round 5 years, stated: “It may be very hard-going for the trade.
“As properly as the price of petrol going up there’s the bills and prices of autos, which additionally should be lower than 5 years below minimal requirements guidelines in Greater Manchester.
“Drivers are having to pay £20,000 for his or her cars which might go up 1000’s of kilos on lease after which they are going to be making a giant loss once they promote them.
“Insurance goes up and so are all of the components of vehicles.
“People have left the trade as a result of they can not make ends meet.
“Drivers who was paying £100 every week to replenish are actually paying as much as £250.
“Some are solely making £300 to £400 every week and after the bills that goes all the way down to £150 to £200.
“They are going to different jobs like working for Amazon.”
Mr Aijaz stated the variety of licensed drivers in Bury has dropped within the final two years amid the struggles of the pandemic and a few registering somewhere else similar to Wolverhampton and Sefton in Merseyside, the place guidelines are much less restrictive.
Uber and different companies within the area have operator licences in Wolverhampton which additionally enable drivers to work in Greater Manchester, he stated.
He added: “In Wolverhampton, you may have a automobile as much as 12 years outdated so drivers getting their licences there don’t must spend as a lot cash on their vehicles.
“With these guidelines individuals can spend £4,000 to £6,000 on vehicles as a substitute of greater than £20,000.”
Drivers licensed with Bury Council are subsequently dropping enterprise within the borough to taxis registered in Wolverhampton and Sefton because of this, Mr Aijaz stated.
He additionally stated the implications of the restrictions have been raised to the council in a number of conferences.
Another downside drivers are confronted with is the uncertainty of the clear air zone plans in Greater Manchester with it nonetheless unknown if it is going to be launched throughout the entire of the area or simply within the metropolis centre.
But Mr Aijaz stated even when the zone is simply restricted to town centre it can nonetheless hit Bury drivers laborious as they frequently take their autos there for work at weekends.
He has additionally warned that if drivers proceed to go away the enterprise then the general public transport system in Greater Manchester will probably be hit laborious.
Bury taxi firm Magnum Whiteline stated there was strain to extend fares as the worth of gas rockets.
Manager Damian Robinson stated a small fare enhance was utilized earlier this yr however since then prices have continued to develop, making it very troublesome for drivers to make a dwelling.
He stated: “Obviously it’s a concern.
“It is now costing drivers £100 to replenish their vehicles when it was £70 earlier than the rise.”
Mr Robinson additionally stated the agency is scuffling with a “large scarcity” of drivers following the results of the pandemic and the gas enhance with a lowered variety of workers capable of cowl the workload.
Bury Council stated its variety of registered drivers has fallen from 1,172 from the beginning of 2020 to 969 originally of this yr and realises that the pandemic has affected the commerce.
The native authority stated minimal licensing requirements was agreed throughout Greater Manchester to make sure it has a taxi and personal service which is “protected and of the very best commonplace”.
A spokesman stated: “Bury Council agreed the minimal licensing requirements following intensive session with the general public and the taxi commerce, and a few particular modifications to the Greater Manchester proposal had been made domestically in Bury.
“Delaying any determination to implement a ‘GM authorized’ bonnet sticker in Bury for a interval of two years whereas extra work is carried out with the commerce and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to deal with the considerations raised by the commerce referring to anti-social behaviour, and bringing an extra report back to the licensing and security committee previous to any modifications being agreed to automobile livery.
“Only implementing the coverage that every one hackney carriage autos have to be black for brand new and alternative autos, not present fleet autos.”
The council stated it is usually dedicated to supporting these within the trade.
A spokesman added: “We have common liaison conferences with drivers and operators, that are held collectively with GMP.
“We even have a devoted officer to assist the commerce, and have saved them knowledgeable all through the MLS course of.
“There are some ways now we have been serving to the commerce. We have, as an example, simply opened a second automobile testing centre, one thing the commerce requested.
“During the Covid pandemic, we additionally launched measures to assist with the price of licences.
“We additionally produced a video displaying drivers the best way to apply for Covid assist grants, and supported particular person candidates with any queries and signposting them to wider enterprise assist.
“Enforcement motion was additionally carried out on the latest Parklife occasion, coping with unlicensed taxis, which commerce representatives thanked us for.
“Taxi and personal rent drivers present an necessary and much-valued service, and by working collectively we will be sure that the sector continues to thrive in Bury.”
With regards to drivers being licensed in Wolverhampton and different locations, a council spokesman added: “This has been a difficulty for a few years, lengthy earlier than the present proposals to have minimal licensing requirements in Greater Manchester.
“We, and Greater Manchester, proceed to foyer the federal government to usher in new legal guidelines which might enable us to deal with this and guarantee excessive requirements Greater Manchester.”
Uber stated it abides by the identical laws as all different personal rent operators and each driver who makes use of its app has been licensed by a council.
Wolverhampton Council, Sefton Council and Transport for Greater Manchester have been approached for feedback.