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Cab drivers for essential worker only petrol stations amid ‘nightmare’ fuel shortage

·4-min read
Taxi Drivers in London are facing long queues for petrol.   (Getty Images)
Taxi Drivers in London are facing long queues for petrol. (Getty Images)

Black cab drivers in London have called on the government to introduce essential user only petrol stations.

It comes as taxi drivers have been struggling to fill up amid the the fuel crisis they have dubbed a “nightmare”.

Petrol stations across the capital are running dry with up to 90 per cent with no fuel following a weekend of panic buying.

The panic followed BP closing a handful of of its petrol station due to a shortage of delivery drivers.

The London Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) told the Standard up to a third of black cab drivers are not on the road on Monday because they do not have enough fuel or fear they will be left stranded as stations run out.

The government has insisted there are normal levels of fuel available but the panic buying has led to companies not being able to replenish the pumps quick enough.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA, said drivers who usually picked up elderly and vulnerable people were being forced off the road which has left huge gaps for the care sector.

He added: “It’s a nightmare. Many of our members are not able to get out there. There is simply no fuel at the stations. The only option is to make some petrol stations dedicated to essential workers. That would ease the problem a great deal.

“It’s been done before in the 1970s and it worked. You just give people who work in essential services a letter so they can use the stations.

“Our drivers are being asked to pick up people from care homes and we offer an invaluable service. We are doing our best but we need some help from the government. It’s a mystery to me why the government don’t bring in these rules. We are working closely with London Mayor and government to resolve this.”

Drivers have been taking to social media to express their frustration at being left battling for fuel at the pumps.

Cabbie 007 tweeted: “I pulled into a Shell Garage this morning using the Bus Lane. Jumped the Queue, I told them London Taxis get priority. I just followed a School Bus doing the same. We transport the disabled and infirm. London Taxis should not be running out of fuel you drive a taxi and cannot go to work because you have no fuel and cannot get any, it’s a shortage and a crisis!”

Mr McNamara added: “The government are saying this is not a crisis but when doctors can’t get to work and tube drivers can’t get to work we have a big problem.”

A petrol station worker has said the demand for fuel has been “unprecedented” at his small garage and shop sales have “tanked” following a weekend of panic buying.

Yasser Ahmed, 37, from the West Drayton Service station near Heathrow said he had “not had time to breathe” as people clamoured to fill up their tanks and he had sold a week’s worth of fuel in just two days.

Speaking outside West Drayton service station, near Heathrow Airport, which he runs with his father, he added: “It’s unprecedented.”

He went on: “We had a delivery Friday morning. Driving in, that’s when it started hitting me, there was a lot of talk on the radio (about) panic buying. When I got into work it was considerably busy but not too bad.

“By the afternoon, when my dad left, I was nonstop. I didn’t have time to breathe. If there was a spillage outside, it’s a single man operation, I was having to hold everyone, clear the spillage then rush back in. I couldn’t even sit down.”

Mr Ahmed said his four-pump station had gone through 30,000 litres of fuel – the amount it would usually sell in a whole week – in just two days.

He said he had not yet received confirmation of his next delivery on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Uber said the company has been “monitoring the service closely”.

The spokesperson added: “There has been no direct impact on the service. We are, however, monitoring the situation closely and will continue to speak to drivers who hope it is resolved quickly.”

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