Rail strikes: Taxi drivers' frustration at waiting for hours outside rail stations during strike

Taxi drivers waiting outside Chelmsford railway station during Thursday's rail strike Credit: ITV News Anglia

Taxi drivers who rely on fares from commuters at railway stations have described the series of strikes by rail workers as demoralising - saying their earnings have dropped to just a few pounds an hour.

For the third time in a week members of the RMT have walked out on strike, meaning just one in five trains are running.

During the week it meant many commuters returned to working from home, while this weekend it will mean fewer people able to make day trips.

Rail companies like Greater Anglia have told passengers not to travel, and to be aware that services they were relying on to get to large events are unlikely to be running.

Workers on the picket line at Cambridge station on Tuesday. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Taxi drivers like Mohammed Salim Fazal in Chelmsford rely on ferrying people on the final part of their journey from the railway station to make a living.

He said: "It's impacted us a lot because there's hardly anybody going to work so we're sitting here two or three hours before you get a job.

"On Thursday I did five hours for £25.

"Some of the taxi drivers have got to pay for the cabs and the rent on the cabs so if they're not earning they can't pay the rent."

Workers in other businesses have outlined the financial impact the strikes have had on them, with one coffee business waiting hours before serving a single customer on Thursday.

Mr Fazal said the cost of living, the impact of the pandemic and now the rail strikes were leading to hardship among taxi drivers.

He said: "The last two years we haven't done much work at all, sometimes we have been sitting here for eight hours before we got a job.

"It feels demoralising. You come in thinking you're going to get some work, but it's terrible. We just hope it's all done as soon as possible."

Rail workers at the picket lines want a pay rise which better reflects the current cost of living.

They are also in dispute over fears of potential redundancies and changes to working practices.

Talks between rail companies, Network Rail and the union have so far failed to make any breakthrough and the union has warned there may be more stoppages to come unless a solution can be found.

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