Sunderland taxi drivers branching out

Sunderland Taxi Drivers have formed a company to train local people as call handlers for the service. Pictured l-r during a training session at their offices in Bridge House, Sunderland are Nicola Freckleton, Danielle Hamill, Srim Roy trainer and Jonathan Gambles.

Sunderland Taxi Drivers have formed a company to train local people as call handlers for the service. Pictured l-r during a training session at their offices in Bridge House, Sunderland are Nicola Freckleton, Danielle Hamill, Srim Roy trainer and Jonathan Gambles.

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NEW jobs have been created by enterprising taxi drivers who have set up their own cab company.

The founders, all members of Independent Hackney Carriage Operators of Sunderland (IHCOS), which represents a number of cabbies in the city, say the new firm will be “run by drivers, for drivers”.

And they hope the new firm – IHCOS Taxi Services – will bring in more work for struggling hackney carriage drivers, who can work from taxi ranks and take private bookings.

Its office in Sunderland city centre will provide work for five call handlers initially and the service, which launched today will run 24 hours a day.

Michael Young, who founded the firm, along with Graeme Storey and Davey Dudley, said: “The way the work is at the moment, you can sit on the rank for an hour and hope you get a decent job.

“What we are hoping to do is get enough lads in. There’ll be very little profit on this side, but it gives the lads the work and gives them what they want.”

He added: “This will be run by drivers for the drivers.

“We are trying to give people something different.”

The firm’s fleet of 25 cars will eventually all be kitted out with CCTV, which Michael says will protect drivers and customers.

He said drivers “can’t wait to get going”.

He said: “We’ve been working on this for nearly a year and we’re going to start with about 25 cars and see how it goes.”

IHCOS Taxi Service can be contacted by calling tel. 567 5656.

Twitter: @janethejourno