Taxi drivers, cabby’s, hacks, whatever name we lovingly give the men and women who chauffeur us around town - one thing is for certain, they’ve been on the front lines of this pandemic. 

Sitting with members of the public for long periods of time in a confined space, no matter the guidelines and safety procedures put in place, seems like a daunting prospect to most of us. 

But the cabby’s of Southampton have been doing just that and are pleased to do so. 

Southampton based taxi drivers Ian and Richard, who have chosen to shield their identities, have said a lot has changed in the last six months. 

Both drivers work for the award-winning Radio Taxi’s, Ian said that since the pandemic his day has changed massively. 

He said: “We pick up key workers and take them to work and their children to school. 

“We take people to the supermarket and back and take patients to and from the hospital and the doctors.”

With the nation in lockdown Ian, who has been a taxi driver for 19 years,  said: “I haven’t seen many of my regular customers because a lot of them are elderly and have to shield”. 

Ian also said that a lot of the night time trade has “completely dried up” because people still aren’t able to properly go out and enjoy themselves. 

Richard has been in the trade for 12 years and said that work has “dramatically dropped” and that he is having to work much longer hours to make a living. 

Wondering if life will ever return to ‘normal’ both men had quite different beliefs on how they saw things changing. 

Richard stated that he didn’t feel life would ever return to how it was pre-lockdown whilst Ian was more optimistic, hoping that if there wasn’t a second wave then things looked much more promising. 

Both cabby’s clearly love their jobs and more so, their loyal and sometimes hilarious customers. 

One of the most random jobs Ian has had was on Christmas Day many years ago. 

Daily Echo:

He said: “I was asked to deliver Christmas presents to an address, I quoted the woman £30 for the fare, she came back moments later with £40 and told me to make sure they got delivered.” 

Once at the delivery address Ian was asked where the present came from. 

He said: “Moments later she came to the door with £40 and told me to go and return them!”

Richard said that he could write a book about his daily life as a taxi driver in the City with the amount of “laughs and craziness” that goes on. 

However, one thing is for sure, many taxi drivers across our city have lost out on precious income as a result of the coronavirus and therefore lack of trade. 

Supporting small businesses means supporting taxi drivers, many of whom are self employed. 

With all of the continued safety measures put in place, including plastic screens, sanitizer and face masks, taxi firms are sure this method of travel is safe for all.

Radio Taxi's asks that all users wear a face covering if possible, they have also frequently had their fleet commercially cleaned and disinfected.