Preston taxi drivers urged to slim down and smarten up

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Taxi drivers in Preston are being told to smarten up, slim down and stop smoking by the local authorities.

Central Lancashire PCT and the city council are trying to instil a level of fitness and a sense of style into the 300 taxi drivers across the region.

The "Fit and Quit Squad" will be running special training sessions in Preston North End's stadium.

The National Taxi Drivers Association said: "You can lead to a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

Letters have been sent to taxi drivers asking if they are willing to take part in the free fitness scheme, which has been designed to fit round their shifts and lifestyles.

'Bit ridiculous'

Tracy Sutton, from the PCT, said: "It's really important because the job they do is already very sedentary.

"They work shifts, have funny eating patterns and they also work through the night when takeaways are often the only food available.

"We have had a positive response so far, many drivers do want to get fit and shed those pounds."

Stop smoking sessions will also be available for those taking part in the fitness regimes at the Minerva Health Centre at Deepdale.

Taxi drivers were sent a dress code about a year ago, which detailed what they could and couldn't wear.

Bare chests, football shirts, flip-flops and shell-suits are not permitted.

Mark Selley from the Preston Hackney Carriage Association, said he agreed with some of the authorities' ideas.

"In Edinburgh the taxi drivers have to wear smart trousers and collared shirts, many of them actually enjoy having a dress code because they feel like ambassadors of the city.

"We do need to smarten up, and I do agree with the initiative to get taxi drivers fit, but I'm not sure what the take-up will be.

"You can lead to a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

However, Wayne Clark, of the National Taxi Drivers Association, said: "The ban on football shirts is a bit ridiculous.

"I'm more likely to think a driver wearing a Preston North End T-shirt will know their way around more than one wearing a suit."

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