The pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis has been tough on taxi drivers over the last couple of years, as households feel the pinch and rein in social nights out. However, the number of taxi drivers is actually on the rise, likely as a result of many families adding side hustles and second jobs to help cope with rising energy and grocery bills.
Taxi data from Northern Ireland’s largest price comparison website, CompareNI.com, found that the number of new taxi drivers in Northern Ireland who held a taxi badge for less than 6 months, increased from 5% to 18% from 2021 to 2022 – with a jump in Uber drivers from 6% to 11%. The average age of all drivers also fell from 50 to 48.
The most common taxi driver is still those that have held their taxi badge for over 10 years, 52% of all drivers. Northern Ireland is a unique market for taxi drivers with just a small percentage identifying as Uber drivers, compared to 48% across the rest of the UK.
CompareNI.com data compares January to May 2021 against January to May 2022 – using a sample size of over 45,000 taxi insurance policies across the UK.
Ian Wilson, price comparison expert and Managing Director at CompareNI.com, comments: “Taxi drivers here in Northern Ireland have a very limited choice when it comes to taxi insurance, so we want them to know they can compare prices and policies with us through our comparison site, to help them find better deals.
“Taxi insurance premiums can be costly, as insurance providers consider cab drivers a higher risk because of the greater amount of time they spend on the roads compared to other drivers, but our site can help keep premiums competitive. It’s just one short online form then we match the details with a select few suitable providers who then phone the drivers, when it suits them, to discuss the specifics – this helps keep the policy as accurate as possible – incorrect details can void the insurance premium.”
There wasn’t much movement amongst the choice of taxis this year, understandably given waiting lists for new cars are, in some cases, now over a year long. The top five most popular cars for taxi drivers in Northern Ireland, across 2021 and 2022, were revealed as the Skoda Superb, Mercedes-Benz E220, Volkswagen Passat, Ford Mondeo and the Toyota Avensis – in that order, with only the Ford and the Toyota switching places in 2022. Interestingly the UK-wide top taxi is an electric vehicle, the Toyota Prius.