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Taxi drivers call on government to approve fare increase as cost of fuel rises

They say an increase in card payments has led to drivers losing more money

Taxis (Stock Image)

Clodagh Meaney

Taxi drivers have called for a promised 5% fare increase to be implemented as a review of fares is carried out.

The rising cost of fuel and the increased use of contactless payments are among the reasons outlined by those working in the transport industry.

Jim Waldron from the National Private Hire & Taxi Association told Newstalk Breakfast that drivers are currently operating at a loss.

"They should increase... the obvious one is that the fuel costs have gone up so high over the last year or so.”

"But this fare increase was approved back in 2019 and it suggested that we lost 5% on the previous two years.”

"The cost of running a taxi had increased by 5%, and that calculation didn't include the huge rise in contactless payments. Every time a driver does a transaction with contactless payment, he loses up to 4.8% on that transaction,” Jim said.

Mr Waldron explained that the increase in fares was originally delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but believes that things have “changed slightly” since then.

“The NTA (National Transport Authority) decided it was inappropriate to impose [a fare increase] at the time of the Covid pandemic starting.”

"Taxi drivers are back in work in a lot of cases at the moment and they're out there providing a service, and they can't be doing it at a loss - and that's what we're doing at the moment".

“Our members are asking for us to call for the implementation of the fare increase that has been approved.”

While the National Transport Authority (NTA) is set to carry out a new review, this will take around six months to complete.

"So we're saying approve this in the meantime, pay for the meters to be recalibrated and let's get it on the road and help taxi-drivers.”

Jim said that if the review states that there is no grounds for a fare increase, so be it.

"Let's have the review but in the meantime we're falling behind and we need some help.”

Jim said that he does not agree that “everyone” is “strapped for cash at the moment.”

“There are some sectors of the community that benefited during Covid, some people don’t have to travel to work anymore so they don't have a taxi fare cost at the moment."

"I wont say they've benefited, but they haven’t been affected how some other sectors of the industries have been affected.”

"We're controlled by the Government, or the NTA, on what we can charge - whereas other people in other industries can alter their fares,” he said, explaining that taxis cannot set their own rates.

"Or at times they charge extra money, they can all do that but we can't".

“We need the government to approve the 5%.”

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