TAXI companies in Dorset admit that lockdown has been a struggle but say they have adapted to the circumstances and are hopeful as lockdown restrictions are eased.

With members of the public have used taxi services much less frequently throughout the pandemic, companies have taken a different approach to how the provide their services.

This has included driving children to school, key workers to work and delivering goods to those who were self-isolating.

Tom Berney, director of Tom’s Taxis, said: "When the pandemic first started it was a struggle, our income went from 100 percent down to zero almost instantly.

"It was scary, we were trying to look to the future and had no idea what was going to happen.

"The phones didn't ring at all for the first two weeks. We decided to put ourselves out there and reopen just to let people know we were there if they were to need us.

"Business is currently around 50 percent of where it was before the outbreak.

“As with all businesses we have to appreciate it's going to be very difficult until there's a vaccine.

"We just have to make the public feel as safe and as comfortable as possible.

"Things are building up slowly as the confidence of the public is coming back."

Safety measures taxi companies have been applying include PPE for the drivers, customers sitting as far from the driver as possible and clean downs after every customer. Tom’s Taxis have even been using a 70 percent alcohol cleaning substance which they spray their cabs with in order to kill germs.

Judith Chard, owner of Dorchester Taxi, said: “When they announced the lockdown we did go into a slight panic mode, during the first couple of weeks we didn't have much of anything.

"We've been very fortunate, we had to change the way that we work and work more with school contracts.

"I’d imagine it's been a 50- 50 split with taxi companies. Half are probably struggling and wondering where the income is going to come for up but for others like ourselves which have contracts with the council, it's been the saving grace."