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'Struggling' taxi firms brace for expected deluge of calls amid train strikes

Taxi drivers and company bosses are preparing for a deluge of calls to help people get to work because of rail strikes this week.

Senior ministers are warning that industrial action by rail workers is likely to begin this week, in the biggest walkout in the industry for more than 30 years.

Many are still facing recruitment problems after the lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic which saw many driver finding other forms of work.

Meanwhile commuters wanting to book a taxi are being advised to place their requests as early as possible so as not to be disappointed.

Shaz Saleem, the 36-year-old managing director of Express Taxis, in Halesowen, and Beacon Taxis, in Dudley, said: "We are still struggling because of the pandemic.

"We are still recovering from the problems brought by the pandemic and I think that this will only add to the burden of it all.

"Since the pandemic there has been a huge drop in driver numbers.

"Some decided to look for other jobs and other ways of making money.

"However, we are more than equipped to deal with the demand from customers.

"We will be asking more of our drivers to make themselves available and also asking people to book early if they want a taxi.

"We have 80 drivers between the two companies.

"There has been a shortfall but we are meeting the demand.

"We are expecting an increase in the number of people booking taxis but just how much we cannot yet say.

"There is no way of knowing just what the demand will be because of the rail strike.

"That is why we are asking people to book early so that this will give us a better idea of what to expect.

"We will then be able to prepare better for the demand.

"Personally, I think that the strike will cause more disruption to everyone.

"I am not sure how it will benefit anyone as it will cause disruption to everyone, including commuters, businesses and companies.

"I think that they are being penalised and it is no fault of themselves."

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