Struggle | 

Taxi drivers waiting 8 months for licence despite national taxi shortage

Leo Varadkar has suggested ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft could be brought it to help address the taxi shortage

Cabs waiting on a taxi rank

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Taxi drivers are waiting eight months to get their licence despite a major shortage of drivers across the country.

The workforce is thought to be around 10% lower than it was before Covid-19 as many taxi drivers called it quits during the pandemic.

In July, it was revealed that just 29% of taxi drivers are working at night.

Last month, the National Private Hire and Taxi Association said some of its members had stopped working at night in Dublin as the city has “become more violent.”

Taxi driver Jim Waldron told Newstalk Lunchtime Live that he often wonders if it’s worth his while setting out on the job.

"It might be a little bit more profitable to work at night time but you have to consider your welfare.”

The driver gave a list of things that the Government and councils could do to help taxis and the public.

"Better located taxi ranks, properly lit ranks – possibly with CCTV, possibly with marshals so that people know where to go in a taxi rank,” Mr Waldron said.

“There should be stiffer penalties for people who assault taxi drivers” must come into law.

"For some reason I don’t believe that courts treat taxi drivers with the same respect in terms of assaults.”

"There’s so many assaults on taxi drivers that they get overlooked for one reason or another.”

“We want an example made of people that treat us in a bad way.”

Emer Higgins, TD for Dublin Mid West, told Newstalk that “we all know there’s a shortage of taxis.”

"I think most people are noticing it and it’s a real problem in Dublin where people are struggling to get a taxi after a night out.”

"And I know many people are finding it difficult to pre-book a taxi for an airport run.”

It has been suggested by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar that ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft could be brought it to help address the taxi shortage.

In 2017, the National Transport Authority (NTA) told Uber its model for ride-sharing using private cars is not an appropriate model for Ireland.

It would disrupt traditional taxi hire and would “only serve to undermine the regulated transport system.”

To operate Uber “even on a pilot basis is undesirable,” the NTA said.

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