New research gives insight into county’s taxi drivers

New research has given a fascinating insight into the working habits of taxi drivers in Northumberland
New research has given a fascinating insight into the working habits of taxi drivers in Northumberland

New research has given a fascinating insight into the working habits of taxi drivers in Northumberland and revealed that they’re working harder than they were three years ago.

The survey of more than 1,000 public and private hire drivers across the UK was commissioned by the UK’s largest taxi insurance broker insureTAXI.

It found that on average, taxi drivers in Northumberland travel 27,222 miles a year and take an average of 96 fares a week – up 36 fares since similar research was carried out in 2013. Over a third (37 per cent) of respondents in Northumberland said they have increased their working hours over the last three years, with nearly half (48 per cent) citing increased competition as the reason for clocking up more time on the road.

More than half of drivers (57 per cent) in Northumberland said they’re working longer hours to make ends meet at home. In an average week, taxi drivers in Northumberland are now working 43 hours and earning £306, making the average hourly rate £7.12; eight pence under the current minimum wage.

On top of this, the research revealed they can expect an average tip of 45p for each fare. Considering the number of fares taxi drivers take on average a week, this means they could earn around £43.20 in tips each week.

But while the research paints a largely positive picture of taxi drivers’ earning potential, there are a number of costs that taxi drivers regularly incur. On average, taxi drivers in Northumberland spend £89 a week on fuel, £91 a month on general vehicle maintenance and £1,524 a year on their taxi insurance, totalling an average of £7,244 of expenditure each year.

The rising cost of being a taxi driver is a concern for a number of taxi drivers in Northumberland, with 40 per cent stating it’s the biggest threat to their profession. Over a fifth (22 per cent) think the increase in competition is the biggest threat, while 13 per cent of non-Uber drivers think Uber is the biggest threat.

Three-quarters of taxi drivers in Northumberland don’t think leaving the EU will have a negative impact on their job.

For those who are worried about Brexit, concerns included people losing their jobs and not needing taxis to go to and from work or meetings; people not going out as due to money worries; and a fear that it would lead to increased petrol costs.