A Cowes woman claims she could not get a taxi after making nine phone calls the night before she needed the lift.
Mavis Patterson says she made the phone calls to multiple Island taxi firms but could not get a taxi to take her to the 6.15am Red Jet service.
Mrs Patterson had been suffering from back problems, couldn’t walk and needed to be at the Spire Hospital in Southampton for an emergency injection at 7am on Wednesday (September 5).
She said: “”This is disgraceful. I made nine phone calls the night before from 6pm. I know it’s a short journey from Castle Road but I don’t mind giving a serious tip!
“It’s become frightening. I could not walk. You think, ‘how am I going to get there?’ Normally I would just run down there in a flash.
“Let’s get Uber on the Island, that’ll make them jump up and down. We have to have some competition for this place.
“Never again will I take an early appointment. But it was an emergency injection.”
Mrs Patterson said she called Cowes Taxis, Amar Taxis, TJ Taxis, Wight Taxi Service and Hayles Taxis to no avail.
Eventually she called her good-natured gardener, who she knew started rounds at 5am, and he took her to the Red Jet terminal.
Terry Jones, owner of TJ Taxis explained some of the challenges taxi companies face on the Island.
“TJ Taxis is the biggest company in the Cowes area, so we get called on a lot. Whilst we get called on a lot, there is only so much we can do.
“In the morning, we only have two drivers on, and predominantly, most days, those cars are booked out. If there has been a rejection, maybe it was in the evening – it’s because the dispatcher can’t get hold of the driver for the morning because they’ve already gone to bed.
“Sometimes it’s too late in the day. That is inherent, a problem. We recognised this a few years ago and we are making big changes from October 1, to give better coverage for the Island.”
Peter Dibsdale owner of Cowes Taxis said: “If we’re booked we obviously can’t do it, we’re a tiny little firm. Castle Road to there is a minimal fare but I would do it, but if we’re booked – we can’t.”
Matthew Hayles, owner of Hayles Taxis said: “To be honest, there are not a lot of firms working that early in the morning unless it is pre-booked and a sizeable job and in their area.
“I’m not a Cowes based company, so that’s why I didn’t do it.”
A spokesman for Amar Taxis said: “We are all contracted to do school runs through the Isle of Wight Council Monday to Friday so that might have been why. I don’t remember taking any calls for 6am.”
Wight Taxi service have been contacted for comment.