The coronavirus crisis has hit the taxi industry hard. According to the GTL-Taxi industry federation, confirming information from the specialist magazine Taxipro, the number of salaried taxi drivers in Belgium fell by nearly 2,000 last year.
At the end of 2019, they were 6,908 in Belgium while according to provisional estimates, based in particular on figures from the ONSS, their number fell to some 5,000 at the end of 2020.
The sector can resort to temporary unemployment but according to GTL-Taxi, companies have gone bankrupt and still had to lay off drivers. It is also possible that drivers have left the area on their own, out of weariness or for financial reasons. A similar trend has been observed in the coach sector.
As regards independent taxi drivers, whose number is estimated at around 7,000, GTL does not have any data available. But departures are undoubtedly less numerous than among employees because “an independent has made an investment and therefore it is less obvious for them to leave the sector”, says one at GTL-Taxi. As for independent taxi drivers, they have the possibility of using the right footbridge to get through the crisis.