The pandemic has changed the way a lot of people have got about. Firstly, the government’s stay at home message has largely been heeded. People have simply not travelled as much as they used to. International air travel has dwindled to all but a trickle and the use of public transportation systems has seen a similar drop. When people have had to get about and essential travel has been needed – perhaps to make a hospital appointment, for example – tax services have often been preferred. This is because private taxi hire offers several advantages over public transport, not least the ability to sit in a sanitised car without other passengers from outside the customer’s household.
And yet, there can be little doubt that taxi firms around the country have suffered throughout the pandemic. Although services have been provided continually since the first UK lockdown came about in March 2020, the industry has taken a huge economic hit – like many others, of course. However, as the country begins to emerge from the pandemic in the post-Covid-19 world, so it is likely that taxi service providers are going to make a strong comeback. Why might this be?
To begin with, many taxi companies operate with a very scalable operation these days. For example, many liveried taxi companies have self-employed drivers on their books which means that they can organise their shifts to meet the level of demand that happens to be present at any particular time. In other words, as more and more people start to book taxis as the wider economy picks up, so more taxis will become available to meet the growing levels of travel.
In particular, the opening up of the hospitality sector is likely to provide something of a shot in the arm for taxi firms. People have not been able to go out with friends to enjoy a meal and a few drinks for a long time which means there is a great deal of pent-up demand in certain quarters. Few people will want to volunteer to be the designated driver for a while yet which means the obvious alternative – booking a taxi – will be the most likely solution for people as restaurants and the wider night-time economy begins to get going once more.
Likewise, air travel – one of the mainstays of many taxi firms’ revenue streams – is likely to re-emerge soon. Yes, people booking holiday flights may be limited to certain destinations as vaccine roll-out programmes continue around the world, but this doesn’t mean that airports will remain in their semi-furloughed state for much longer. Bear in mind that what is good for airports is also good for taxi firms as many people will choose to travel to their flight with their luggage by booking a taxi.
Of course, mask-wearing and hand sanitisation may still be part of the mix as the UK economy gets going again. If so, taxis will continue to offer additional benefits that public transportation simply cannot. As such, the picture looks much improved for taxi service providers and their customers in the foreseeable future.