Traffic Blues for UK Taxi Drivers


November 28, 2013

New research shows that taxi drivers working in Belfast face the worst traffic delays anywhere in the UK.  Cabbies in Bristol, Brighton and Edinburgh also face an uphill struggle fighting their way through Britain’s most congested cities.

Interestingly London, which often claims to be a ‘special case’, only takes fifth place on the list when it comes to the length of delays suffered due to backed up traffic.

Traffic Hotspots

According to detailed congestion data released by sat nav market leader, TomTom, the challenge of coping with jams certainly isn’t limited to capital cities or to any one region of the country.  Northern cities in the UK’s traffic top 20 include Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Bradford, Newcastle, Sunderland and Sheffield.   In the midlands, taxi drivers in Birmingham, Nottingham and Leicester don’t have life any easier.

Other cities on the traffic blacklist range from Portsmouth and Southampton on the south coast to Welsh capital Cardiff and Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow.

Digital Data

The UK Traffic Index, published quarterly by TomTom, presents the most detailed and up to date picture of what’s happening on British roads.  Drawing on tens of millions of miles of satellite-gathered information, the company is uniquely placed to monitor the effect of congestion on journey times – a matter of particular concern to professionals, including taxi drivers.

The index illustrates how much longer journeys take at peak times, compared with normal traffic conditions.  Cab drivers on the early shift in Belfast face horrendous delays at morning peak time (88% longer than non-peak conditions).  London taxi drivers face a morning peak increase of 57%, just ahead of Manchester (56%), Bristol (54%) and Edinburgh (53%).

Evening peak is also a tough place to work for Belfast taxis, with a bumper 71% increase on standard journey times.  Next worst hit for evening traffic are Bristol and Edinburgh again (both 66%).


Cab Direct managing director, Paul Nelson, comments: “Cab driving can be a trying profession at the best of times.  But spare a thought for the hard working taxi men and women who spend hours every day locked in crawling traffic.

“It’s also revealing to note that Transport for London claims London’s unique traffic conditions mean that it has to cling on to its now virtually unique turning circle requirement.

“This appears to be contradicted by the fact that taxi drivers in numerous other UK cities cope with similar or indeed worse traffic, on a daily basis.  They are more than capable of getting on with the job in more fuel efficient, modern style cabs without the ‘tight turning circle’.”

European Dimension

Further afield, Moscow boasts the worst traffic congestion index among Europe’s largest cities.  A host of others cities, including Istanbul, Rome, Paris and Brussels experience worse congestion than London.

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