Following the opening up of shops, salons, bars and restaurants a dispatch system operator for Liverpool’s largest fleet of hackney carriages is reporting a record surge in bookings. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool cabbies have seen a record surge in fare bookings since shops, salons, bars and restaurants have been allowed to re-open.
ComCab, which manages a dispatch system for hundreds of Liverpool hackney carriages, is reporting a 60% increase in fare bookings compared to pre-COVID levels as the city begins to open up after the latest lockdown.
And the business says it is looking forward to another increase in business when, as expected, indoor hospitality starts to open up from the middle of May as per the Government’s timeline.
And Karen Long, general manager at ComCab, said the rise in passenger journeys is a welcome boost after cabbies were hit hard by the pandemic. Some drivers, she said, had to leave the trade altogether after being unable to meet vehicle payments.
She added: “As lockdown eases, customers are becoming more comfortable with going out but many are still hesitant to use public transport like the buses and trains.
“The peace of mind of a door to door service meant the Hackney has become the taxi of choice for an increasing number of Liverpool’s residents. This started when many key workers chose us for essential journeys at the height of the pandemic.
“Customers have gone onto value the separate passenger compartment. Our drivers have been doing a great job letting passengers know they can book a black cab, not just flag us on the street, a long held myth.”
Hackney carriages carry up to six passengers and are purpose built to be easily cleaned. The driver compartment is always separated with a screen. Ventilation for the driver and passengers are also separate.
Alan Cain from Aigburth has been driving a cab in Liverpool for 21 years. He added: “The revival of the trend to book a black cab is a benefit to the whole licensed trade in Liverpool.
“Out on the road you see cars licensed from all over the place coming from outside the city to work, it’s a nightmare. Like other ComCab drivers I’m licensed and live in Liverpool and we are small independent businesses in our own right. Supporting local black cabs is great for the city.”