A family-run taxi company in Richmondshire has completed training to ensure its dementia friendly.
Tony Taxis is run by husband-and-wife team Gill and Tony Marshall and their children Craig and Kim.
They have completed Richmondshire District Council’s dementia friendly training for taxi drivers – through local charity Dementia Forward – which is designed to give drivers confidence to help people with dementia so they can safely maintain their independence.
Tony decided to become a cab driver 13 years after being made redundant from his job in car sales.
They now have a fleet of eight vehicles which the four family members can use depending on the nature of the job. This includes three cars, two six-seater 4 x 4 vehicles and three 8-seater minibuses.
Tony said: “The pandemic made it difficult for all taxi companies, but we were hit particularly hard due to the fact we are a pre-booked taxi which meant most of our business was related to the hospitality or travel industry.
“However now things have opened up again, all the previously postponed weddings are now taking place, and when you combine with the large numbers of people coming into Richmondshire on holiday and a general desire to get back to drinking and eating in pubs, it means we are busier than we have been in our history.
“We have built up a reputation for being reliable, punctual, and going that extra mile, so for example if we have a vulnerable customer we will wait until they are in their house before leaving or we will help people in with their shopping.
“People also like the fact that we’re a family business and they know that it will only ever be one of the four of us who picks them up or drops them off.”
Tony says they were delighted to become a dementia friendly taxi firm.
He explains: “My mum had dementia when I was young before things like that were diagnosed as such, so it means a lot to us as a family to help people who are vulnerable.
“We also work with Richmondshire District Council and other local authorities like Wakefield Council to provide taxi services for vulnerable children.”
With Tony aged 64 and Gill aged 62, whilst the pair have no plans to retire just yet they are looking to the future.
Tony said: “Gill and I are trying to reduce our hours, so we are in bed at reasonable times, for taxi drivers anyway, and we have fantastic support from Craig and Kim.
“Ultimately, customer and driver safety are of paramount importance to us, so we will never compromise on that.”