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UNSUNG HEROES


OUR TRADE STEPS UP TO HELP LOCAL COMMUNITIES THROUGH LOCKDOWN 3.0


Over the past year, Autocab has heard countless stories of our customers and their communities coming together to


offer assistance to those who need it. One of the great pos- itives we can take from the pandemic has been the way it’s brought out the good in people.


There have been some high-profile examples, such as footballers campaigning for free school meals and clothing brands converting their production lines to make PPE for frontline workers. Others have gone more unsung, but have made a telling difference in their local area nonetheless – these are the people who’ve done laundry for an elderly neighbour, or school children who’ve sewed masks in aid of charity.


Among those who’ve made a difference in their community are local taxi operators. It’s not been an easy time for the industry, with passenger numbers at an all-time low and many struggling to make ends meet. But, despite these difficulties, taxi drivers and operators have been using their resources to benefit people in their area.


Here’s just a few of the great things they’ve done to help us get through lockdown 3.0.


1. TRIPS TO MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS


The much-awaited Covid-19 vaccinations are now being rolled out en masse, offering hope for the elderly and vulnerable – many of whom have struggled to leave their homes since the pandemic began. While this has been fantastic, getting to vaccination appointments has still been a challenge for many who have no transport of their own, or are too afraid or incapable of using public transport.


In Brighton, however, two firms, 720 Taxis and City Cabs, have set up an initiative called Cabs for Jabs, to provide vulnerable people with free taxi rides to and from their vaccination. They have even set up a GoFundMe page and reached out to businesses and the general public for donations to fund these journeys.


They are not alone either. Across the UK and Ireland, taxi firms have been going the extra mile to provide for those in need of medical help. In Waterford, Rapid Cabs has been playing a key role in supporting the strained healthcare system by providing patient transport. Their drivers have provided 16,000 trips to and from hospital and doctors’ appointments since the pandemic began.


38 2. DELIVERING ESSENTIAL GOODS


As well as taking people to important medical appoint- ments, local operators have also been bringing essential goods to those who need them. This has included groceries and prescriptions, but it has also involved some stranger, albeit still essential, deliveries such as false teeth, live leeches and glass eyes.


In Swinton, Lynch Private Hire is a firm that deserves a special mention when it comes to supporting the most vulnerable in Greater Manchester. They delivered free school meals to children to ensure they got a nutritious lunch, despite school closures. They have also been making sure PPE gets to nursing homes to help protect the staff and residents living there.


3. KEEPING LOCAL RESTAURANTS AFLOAT


This third (and hopefully final) lockdown has been particularly tough for hospitality venues, whose doors are expected to be among the last to reopen. But taxis have yet again stepped up to offer restaurants a lifeline. They have been helping them to deliver food and beverages to customers while the doors of local bars and eateries remain shuttered.


In Nottingham and Derby, for instance, DG Cars is handling up to 3,500 orders a week for 160 different restaurants – delivering tapas for Bar Iberico, fried chicken for Chilli Flames, and mojitos for The Parlour, to name just a few.


Such partnerships between struggling restaurants and local taxi firms have proved hugely successful across the country. From high-end restaurants, to small sandwich shops, to award-winning cocktail bars, taxis and private hire vehicles have been responsible for ensuring that a little joy has still been reaching those people stuck at home.


The taxi and private hire industry has really showed its best colours during this third national lockdown, by all coming together to find ways to help out their local communities.


Despite being among one of most severely hit industries, drivers have selflessly given up their time or developed new ways to provide assistance – helping all of us get through this difficult time.


MAY 2021


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