"Cabbies felt abandoned during the pandemic and it is essential to the city that as many of them as possible get back in their cabs. "
At the height of the pandemic, many Hackney drivers, who are self employed, were unable to continue trading as fare bookings plummeted to an all time low. Now, there is a sudden surge in bookings since the shops have reopened, with operators reporting bookings up to 60% higher than pre-covid.
Neil has been a long time supporter of the Hackney trade and throughout the pandemic his firm has been offering drivers free advertisements on taxis to promote the health and safety benefits of travelling in a ‘Black Cab’.
The campaign bands together with specialist cleaning firm Vaxinol that is setting up a deep clean station at the Grafton Street taxi rank adjacent to Cains Brewery on the 4th May. Cabbies will be able to have their cab sanitised for free between 10am and 2pm. A giant mobile ad van donated by Neils’s firm, Huge Media, will be touring the city over the Bank Holiday weekend publicising the service and offering encouragement to the city’s black cabs.
Neil drove a cab around the city for almost 20 years until 2007. He says:
“There is optimism creeping back into the Black Cab trade as the vehicle of choice when travelling and we want to get behind it for the drivers, the hospitality and tourism sectors. The ‘May the 4th’ initiative is about having a bit of fun and banding together like the troopers they are.
Soon, bars and restaurants will be able to serve indoors, alongside other indoor entertainment venues including cinemas and hotels. Liverpool is set to benefit from the expected surge in staycations, and the black cab trade is essential in supporting the city’s tourism industry. Cabbies felt abandoned during the pandemic and it is essential to the city that as many of them as possible get back in their cabs. Getting their cabs cleaned for free is a boost for them and helps instil confidence among passengers.”
Neil started a business providing advertising space on black cabs in 2003. He is now MD of Huge Media that has grown to offer a range of mobile advertising platforms across the UK. From a base in Speke, Huge Media now operates a fleet of giant mobile advertising hoardings, digital ad vans and pedal powered mobile billboards. They run regional and national taxi advertising campaigns.
The occasion coincides with the international day of celebration held by fans of Star Wars films. In the 2016 census 48,000 people reported themselves as Jedi.