THE recent strike of local taxi drivers saddens me.

These drivers provide a 24-hour service to residents of Bolton and surrounding areas. Transport is provided to our places of employment and young children and parents are delivered to school for their education.

Consultations with general practitioners at medical centres on a daily basis throughout the community are made available with the essential transport facilities of our taxi drivers. In extreme emergencies, sometimes in the depth of night, relatives are called to hospitals in the Bolton and Manchester areas to visit our loved ones during a critical period.

Customers are treated with empathy and kindness but we must take note, drivers must be given the essential fare increase and not be treated as pawns.

Individual drivers maintain their own financial arrangements, but the community needs to recognise that in some cases approximately £1,500 per month is invested in the taxi service before a penny is taken for family commitments and livelihoods.

Vehicles for transportation have to be purchased either by bank loan or private savings over a monthly period, costing for car insurance, road tax, petrol or diesel escalate financial outgoings. A five per cent increase may be pending on radio rentals over and above the £400 calendar monthly payment being paid at the present.

Most taxi drivers have a favoured car mechanic for maintenance and emergency repairs. A monthly account may be in place to help cover costs. From time to time for whatever reason, drivers may have to undergo a medical examination by a qualified medical practitioner, £100 costing is not unreasonable.

The travelling public appreciate drivers but the necessary funding from fares must be in place to maintain customer safety at all times.

Anne Berry

Name and address supplied