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Taxi drivers find passengers are few and far between

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TAXI DRIVERS say business has dropped by as much as 95% during the coronavirus crisis.

Guernsey Taxi Owners' Federation president Leon Gallienne. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 27758222)

Guernsey Taxi Owners’ Federation president Leon Gallienne said fares were now few and far between and many drivers were not working.

‘There is next to nothing coming through the airport and the passenger port at the harbour and the pubs and clubs are closed,’ he

said.

‘We’re no different to any other small business and we are definitely feeling the effect of this crisis.’

Mr Gallienne said he had advised members who might have money problems to speak to their mortgage providers or lenders.

‘But the big message is that this is a very serious and dangerous disease and we have a duty to everyone to act responsibly,’ he said.

There are about 150 full-time taxi drivers, including plate owners and employees, and the number of part-timers takes that number higher. Some drivers were self-isolating for various reasons and only a few were still working.

Mr Gallienne said the federation was working closely with the authorities during what had been a fast-changing situation.

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‘I think the leadership from the top has been excellent and all the essential workers, including taxi drivers, are doing a great job.

‘It’s really important that we take the advice we are being given on board and all work together.’

Drivers were being asked to limit passenger numbers where possible and to sit people in the back with a window open.

This was not always possible because sometimes, for instance, it might be raining.

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Drivers were meticulously cleaning vehicle surfaces, including door handles, between fares.

‘Some of the drivers are asking people questions such as have they been away lately or do they have a cough,’ said Mr Gallienne.

‘I have told them that if they are not sure about a passenger they should not take them.

‘We need to stay as safe as possible too and a lot of it comes down to common sense.’

He believed the majority of people were behaving sensibly and said the message had got through that it was safety first.

‘Unfortunately, this is something that will not go away quickly.’

Nigel Baudains

By Nigel Baudains
News reporter

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