Taxi firms in Norwich inundated with calls from people stranded due to snow

PUBLISHED: 15:47 02 March 2018

Snow in Norwich. Norwich Station. 28/2/2018

Snow in Norwich. Norwich Station. 28/2/2018 Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Stranded Norfolk residents cut off from public transport have inundated Norwich taxi companies with calls.

ABC Taxis in Paddock St, Norwich. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.ABC Taxis in Paddock St, Norwich. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

But the taxi firms, already suffering from staff shortages due to the severe weather conditions, are worried an increase in longer calls will stretch their resources even thinner.

Steve Kenny, a Five Star Taxis employee, said: “Calls today have been tenfold to what they normally are.

“There have been a lot of requests for long distance work but there’s obviously a limit to how many we can send out.

Mr Kenny also critised car-owning customers.

He said: “Some people seem to be of the belief our taxis can get them where they can’t go themselves.

“That’s unrealistic. The roads will be blocked just the same if we go there.”

Beeline taxis employee Scott said: “Phones have been non-stop since 5am. We’re a busy company but normally you get a little bit of a break.

“A lot of people are customers who usually use other companies, but we’re one of the only firms still answering.

“We’ve had a lot of requests for longer journeys when usually it’s only a few, but a lot of our drivers have their own cars and they aren’t going to risk it for a £10 job.

“Driving right now is very risky and we don’t want our cars to get into trouble anymore than anyone else.”

Like many taxi firms, Beeline are wary of booking jobs over the next few days.

Scott said: “We can only take a few advance bookings because you don’t know what the weather’s going to do over the weekend.”

Some firms have refused to book long journey’s altogether.

A Goldstar Taxis employee said: “We haven’t had many requests for country calls but we turn them down if they do come in.

“We don’t want any of our drivers to get stuck miles out in the ice.

“They don’t want to do it in this weather and we don’t want to make them.”

Far from being selective, one of Norwich’s most used taxi companies has been completely booked up.

An automated message on ABC Taxis’ phone number currently says: “I am sorry but we have a reduced service tonight and we are unable to take any bookings for tomorrow morning.”

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