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40 JOBS: Highland taxi firm on the hunt for 40 drivers in Inverness

By Louise Glen

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A TAXI company owner wants to employ 40 more drivers to keep up with demand.

Inverness Taxi managing director Gavin Johnstone is warning Christmas revellers – that if Halloween is anything to go by – there will be a difficulty in getting people home, unless more people come forward to become taxi drivers.

Mr Johnstone said drivers could earn "a four figure sum a week" for full time work – and in Highland, he said, the process was relatively short to apply and gain approval for a taxi drivers licence with Highland Council.

Mr Johnstone said: "At Halloween people were waiting for long periods of time at both the taxi rank, and within the office for a cab. Something that we don't like to see happen. But we are desperately short of drivers.

"In Inverness we need 40 drivers to keep up with current demands. There is a shortage all over Scotland."

He continued: "Halloween was so busy there was a real problem with people waiting a long time to get a taxi.

"Aside from it being completely hectic in the office, we were really keen to help people get to their destination as quickly and safely as we could.

"What we need to do is manage people's expectations about Christmas and New Year, if we do not have the staff we don't want people to wait for a long time in the city centre in the cold.

"No one wants that for people. While we can give people an idea of the length of time they need to wait, say an hour plus, it can sometimes be much longer.

"Often when we get there, people have made other arrangements, and have not told us, and that takes up time as well."

Mr Johnstone explained that shortages are due to staff retiring, people who have changed jobs in the pandemic and the loss of staff through Brexit.

He continued: "Driver shortages are being felt around the country, and we want to encourage as many people as possible to become taxi drivers.

"In Highlands the process is fairly simple and we can have all the approvals in place in as few as six weeks. There are two types of driver - private hire, drivers who pick up pre arranged fares, and taxi drivers who can pick up people off the street.

"There is an Inverness 'knowledge' test to pass for taxi drivers, but we are here to support people with that."

Drivers also need to be over 21 years of age, have a clean current driving licence for more than 12 months, a medical examination and be approved by Highland Council for a taxi driver's licence or private hire car driver's licence.

Mr Johnstone, who gave up driving to run the business, joked: "I might need to get my badge again!"

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