As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the globe, a number of industries are beginning to take stock and prepare for an increasingly uncertain future.
Take the taxi and private hire sector, for example, which according to statistics is heavily reliant on the leisure industry and business travel for its revenue. Both of these markets have been heavily compromised by the Covid-19 outbreak, with the further social distancing measures introduced by the government having largely prevented individuals from leaving their homes.
We’ll explore this further below, while asking how taxi firms can help to safeguard their short and medium-term futures.
What Do the Statistics Say?
According to data recorded in 2019, almost half (47%) of all private hire trips were booked for leisure purposes, compared to 49% just three years previous.
While this represents a minimal decline, it still highlights the reliance the PHV’s have on the leisure market. This is now a major concern amongst drivers, particularly with pubs and social venues now closed and likely to remain out of action for the foreseeable future at least.
Beyond this, 14% of all PHVs were booked for business trips, and this is another revenue stream that has been significantly compromised by the coronavirus outbreak.
After all, all non-essential workers are now required to operate from home, while in-person meetings and gatherings of more than two have also been banned.
It was also uncovered that 42% of taxi customers use PHVs less than once a year, with a total of 59% booking vehicles twice a year at most.
The widespread ban on social and mass gathering will compromise these figures further, creating a scenario where the PHV industry (which is clearly reliant on a large number of customers rather than a loyal consumer base) will see considerable revenue loss in the months ahead.
How Can PHV Firms React?
There’s plenty of data to support these statistics too, particularly in terms of how and why people use taxis in the UK.
The majority hire PHVs for social occasions, for example, so that they can consume alcohol and travel to a venue in a single, large group.
Even though people are unable to congregate in such groups in the current climate, however, it’s important that drivers and taxi firms invest in vehicles that offer flexible use to customers.
Large and accessible vehicles such as the Vito Taxi offer a relevant case in point, as they can also be used by single consumers and provide genuine comfort for longer journeys.
Not only this, but they can also be classed as accessible vehicles that are suitable for wheelchair users, who may continue to rely on private hire vehicles to attend hospital and GP appointments.