Private Hire and Hackney Drivers Work
Unit(s) of assessment: Social Work and Social Policy
School: School of Social Sciences
Why is this research necessary?
- Private hire and Hackney taxis make up an important part of transport infrastructure, in England and many other countries.
- Drivers work alone and often provide their services to intoxicated customers, making them vulnerable to abuse and violence.
- Drivers are usually self-employed and therefore responsible for their costs and income; this can lead to income insecurity.
- Drivers have been more than three times as likely to die from Covid-19, compared to the general adult population.
- In recent years there has been considerable attention given to passenger safety, but far less attention has been given to driver safety and wellbeing.
- The sector is undergoing considerable change associated with the growth of Uber and other platforms for private hire, creating both threats and opportunities for drivers.
Addressing the Challenge
During 2018 and 2019 a research team at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) conducted research concerning working conditions for private hire and Hackney taxi drivers in Nottingham, England. Our findings are informed by an exploratory literature review and in-depth interviews with eight individuals from four local drivers’ organisations, Nottingham City Council, and an organisation supporting students on nights out. This data was used to explore drivers’ working conditions, to which established criteria for ‘Good Work’ and ‘Decent Work’ were applied, subsequently considering possible strategies for improvement.
Making a Difference
This research project has identified factors that contribute to economic insecurity and vulnerability for private hire and Hackney drivers, and reviews a range of measures that could be pursued by national and local government, drivers’ organisations, operators, and other stakeholders, in order to improve drivers’ wellbeing.
To discuss the findings please contact Dr Tom Vickers.
The NTU team is led by Dr Tom Vickers and includes David Dahill, Dr Dominic Holland, Professor Daniel King, Sharon Hutchings, and Dr Laura Garius. Stakeholders were consulted and engaged throughout the project. We thank them for their time. The views and ideas expressed within the project report and associated publications are those of the authors.
See below for some of the project's most recent reports and publications:
- Decent Work and the Platform Economy Government Briefing Paper
- Decent Work and the Platform Economy Local Authorities Briefing Paper
- Clark I, Lawton C, Stevenson C, Vickers T, Dahill D. A ‘place-based’ approach to work and employment: The end of reciprocity for ordinary working families and ‘giggers’ in a place. Economic and Industrial Democracy. August 2020. doi:10.1177/0143831X20946374
- Written Submission to UK Parliament Transport Committee Inquiry on 'Coronavirus: implications for transport', September 2020.
- Written Submission to UK Department for Transport Consultation on 'Taxi and private hire vehicle licensing: protecting users', April 2019.
- Supreme Court Rules that Uber Drivers are Workers, Futures of Work, March 2021.
- Protecting Private Hire and Taxi Drivers in the COVID-19 Pandemic, Futures of Work, October 2020.
- Precarity, Precarious Work and COVID-19: Insights from Nottingham, Discover Society, July 2020.
- Uber supreme court battle: even if drivers win, they need new laws to protect them, The Conversation, July 2020.
- How local authorities could help their private hire and taxi drivers, LocalGov.co.uk, August 2020.
- New Developments in the Private Hire and Taxi Sector Raise Questions for Workers' Rights, NTU Expert Blog, July 2020.
BBC, All Now, Union News, East Midlands Business Link, Private Hire and Taxi Monthly, Nottingham Post.