Darlington operators struggle to meet demand as driver numbers remain below 2020 levels

ProDriver Magazine website news in Darlington

Operators in Darlington are struggling to fulfil jobs in the town due to a shortage of drivers. The number of taxi drivers in Darlington has not recovered since the Covid-19 pandemic, and there are around 100 fewer drivers in the town than there were in February 2020.

New data shows there are just 394 licensed drivers throughout the borough, and a recent Darlington Borough Council meeting heard how the town’s taxi trade is yet to recover from the pandemic and other factors such as Brexit, which saw many European drivers return home.

The north-east region saw the greatest reduction of drivers in the country, councillors were told. Many of those who have maintained their licence may now only drive taxis as a second job. 

There are four private hire operators in Darlington: 1AB (part of Take Me Group), United, Falcon Cars and GPS Travel. Between them, the operators have insufficient drivers to service peak demand.

“We have seen an interest from Ukrainians who have come across and are interested in becoming licensed drivers,” said Colin Dobson, the council’s licensing manager.