Number of taxis on the road fallen by 20,000

Number of taxis on the road fallen by 20,000

THE number of licensed taxis on our streets has fallen by more than 20,000 since the economic crash, reports the Herald.

New figures obtained by Fianna Fail show a year-on-year drop in registered small public service vehicles (SPSV).

This category includes taxis, hackneys and limousines.

According to the data, supplied to this newspaper by Fianna Fail’s Transport spokesperson Robert Troy, there were 47,222 of these vehicles on the streets nationwide in 2009.

However, the number had fallen to 26,878 by last June.

This represents a decrease of 20,344 or more than 43pc. Mr Troy said last night that the figures are significant, given that there are often shortages of taxis during peak times, especially on weekends.

 He also said the figures support claims that new regulations have made it much more difficult to get licences.

A new test was introduced in 2009 – the same year that the figures fell significantly.

The figures have prompted a review of the testing of drivers.

 In a letter to Mr Troy, a TD for Longford/Westmeath, the National Transport Authority (NTA) stated that the test itself comprises two sections, industry knowledge and area knowledge.

Drivers must secure an 80pc mark in both areas to secure a licence.

Since 2009, the pass rate has been only 52pc, the figures reveal.

NTA chief executive Anne Graham defended the criteria for passing the test.

“While the threshold for passing the test is high, I am sure you will appreciate the importance of having the bar set at a level which is appropriate to the delivery of professional, high-quality taxi, hackney and limousine services to the public,” she said.

Ms Graham confirmed that the NTA will begin a review of the SPSV entry test later next year.

 A public consultation may also be launched as part of the review process.

“As part of the review process, consideration will be given to various test options,” she said.

 “Arising from that review, the need for changes to the current SPSV entry test arrangements