A third of taxi drivers left the industry in the two years leading up to 2021, and it is understood that more than a dozen drivers would be tempted to sell their ‘plates’ if they could find a buyer.
‘We face daily issues among our three hotels to source taxis for guests,’ said Little Big Hotel group managing director Charlotte Walker.
‘We have added to our check-in procedure that it’s now incredibly hard to book last-minute taxis, so please try to be as organised as possible so we can do our best. Predominantly we face the biggest issues on a Sunday when it would appear there are hardly any taxis on the road.’
The States announced last year that it would be undertaking an independent review of the island’s taxi and private hire services, incorporating affordability, availability, reliability, quality, accessibility, environmental impact and driver and customer safety within the scope of the review. There has been no update on progress since.
And currently tourists and islanders can often struggle to find a taxi when one is needed.
‘Sadly our staff are left to do the early morning drop-offs for six in the morning in order to get guests to the airport in time. There is literally no other option,’ said Miss Walker, whose group includes Les Douvres, Fleur du Jardin and Peninsula hotels.
‘We are unfortunately left to take the complaints and abuse when a taxi can either be impossible to source, or in some instances, be booked yet not turn up. Unfortunately it’s probably a big enough issue for a guest to consider whether or not to return to Guernsey.
‘Use of a taxi for tourists in Guernsey is most likely their first and last experience of our incredible island, but sadly seems to be leaving a sour taste on departure.’
She said that hotels are already working hard to bounce back from the impact of Covid.
‘Something needs to be done with significant influence from the States as a matter of urgency. We are pedalling fast to recover our tourists from two impacted years due to Covid.
‘Visit Guernsey is doing a fantastic job of getting people here, but if they can’t explore the island, then why bother?
‘I must add that a few valuable drivers have been heroic picking up last-minute jobs, going quite literally the extra mile – for that we will be forever grateful this season.’
The Guernsey Press attempted to contact taxi drivers and the Taxi Owners’ Federation for comment.