Academy will train next generation of taxi drivers

Simon Stiff and Simon Willey of Daddy Cabs Ltd

Simon Stiff (left) and SImon Willey (right) of Daddy Cabs have launched an academy to help potential taxi drivers join the industry amid a national shortage. - Credit: Daddy Cabs

A new academy launched to help entice more people into taxi driving hopes it can “take away the fear” of entering the industry. 

Daddy Cabs, which runs a taxi service in Wimblington and around the Fens, has created a DC Academy for private hire drivers. 

“There has always been a need to find new drivers, compounded with the Covid pandemic as we lost a lot of drivers,” Simon Willey, new business manager at Daddy Cabs, said. 

“It’s about taking away the fear of becoming a new taxi driver.” 

Similarly to the HGV driver shortage, the taxi driving industry has also been hit due to the pandemic as the number of drivers has plummeted. 

One of the reasons is concerns over the time it takes to begin learning the trade due to the need to take a local knowledge test. 

Because of this, Daddy Cabs have agreed with local authorities including Fenland District Council to defer the requirement for a knowledge test to roughly six months. 

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“One of the delays is a knowledge test, which is very important,” said Simon. 

“It is stopping new drivers getting behind the wheel and what was found from potential applicants was a fear.   

“From the date of when the application is done and licence issued, the test can be deferred for six months.” 

Applicants will be given tuition from more experienced taxi drivers as part of the academy training, including the use of GPS technology software iCabbi. 

Director Simon Stiff will also help fund applications through the academy, which was accelerated due to Covid-19. 

Daddy Cabs, which boasts around 25 drivers, has always seen a steady flow of people both joining and leaving the taxi driving industry. 

The Licensed Private Hire Car Association estimated a shortage of 160,000 of a 300,000 workforce last year, but Simon is confident the academy can help tackle this. 

“Once we have a few applicants, it will go from strength to strength,” he said. 

“Ideally, it would be nice to have at least 50 drivers on the circuit through the academy, and in general. 

“We want to help people get behind the wheel and providing a service the county needs.”   

For more details, call Simon Stiff on 07752 000550 or Simon Willey on 07458 302257.