Driver Hire has been playing its part in flood relief efforts in the sodden South West. John and Alison Griffiths, owners of Driver Hire Taunton & Bridgwater have been supplying three drivers to construction company Skanska. They were sub-contracted to Somerset County Council to pilot two amphibious vehicles to help stranded residents in the Somerset village of Muchelney.
"The vehicles are Hagglands BV206 and can be driven on an ordinary licence," says John Griffiths. "However our sponsor at Skanska specified that the drivers needed to have HGV experience. They attended a training course in Burton on Trent and then a practice/briefing day on the Somerset levels, where they were filmed for national news."
John and Alison's drivers were initially deployed at Muchelney to provide a taxi service ferrying residents, supplies and post in and out of the village, which has been cut off by floodwaters for much of the year. However, further heavy rain in early February meant that the water rose to a level too deep even for the amphibious vehicles. The guys were then moved to the nearby village of Drayton which created a new route into the village.
"The ferry service runs from 7.00am in the morning through to midnight, with the guys working 12 hour shifts," John continues. "When they're not required for driving they're providing a security/maintenance service for the vehicles."
One thing that's nice to know is that in even in our hi-tech world some things are still pretty rudimentary. The measuring gauge used to test the depth of the water is a good, old fashioned broom handle. If the water is over the top of it, it's too deep for the amphibian.