Taxi drivers have become an extra emergency service this year, as ongoing travel disruption has led to misery and chaos across the country.
Cancelled flights and industrial action on the railways have seen more people choose to stay at home this summer, while many have had their plans ruined at the last minute.
Having booked and paid for their tickets, what happens when passengers arrive at an airport or train station and find their journey has been cancelled?
They can either try to book an expensive alternative, return home disappointed and out of pocket, or they can try to salvage the situation, which is where many taxi drivers have come to the rescue this summer.
When four passengers due to make the short hop from Paris to London in July discovered their flight had been cancelled, they were given the option of finding and booking another, more expensive flight. Instead, they came up with a novel idea and called on a taxi to save the day.
They booked an Uber which set them back more than £800, including the Channel Tunnel crossing, which was still cheaper than the alternative flights they were being offered for the following week. The four of them split the cost of the journey from Charles de Gaulle and arrived the following morning after a six-hour trek. While this was much longer than the hour and 20 minutes it would take by plane, it less than half the price they had been quoted for the new flight, and they arrived home hours late, rather than days.
As well as finding a taxi driver willing to make the journey, they were fortunate that theirs had his passport with him and they returned to the UK in time for work the following day, albeit weary from their journey.
Not everyone in their situation would have had the wherewithal or financial means to complete the journey, but having come up with the best solution to meet their needs, a taxi driver stepped in to save the day.
Closer to home, comedian Jason Manford found himself stranded as be prepared to travel by train from his Stockport home to a gig in Margate, Kent. Although it was a fallen tree at Rugby, and not industrial action that brought the service to a standstill, Jason had to make sure the show would go on. He managed to get a taxi from Rugby to Northampton and caught a lift to his final destination, getting to the stage minutes before the show was due to start.
And on a sweltering day, the comedian revealed that the heroic hybrid-driving cabbie told him he could either have the air-conditioning on or reach their destination – there wasn’t enough power to do both!
Taxi drivers have also been coming to the rescue of fans and athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham following industrial action by different railway workers’ union severely disrupting services to and across the city, especially for the opening ceremony and busy opening weekend.
Organisers went to great lengths to make people aware of taxi ranks and bus stops located close to the games venues to make it as easy as possible for people to get to and leave the arenas.
It is taxi drivers’ flexibility and desire to help passengers reach their destination that has made them an invaluable service this year.
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