Anger over the shortage of taxis in Ireland should be aimed at ‘consecutive governments that failed to provide a public transport service’.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, the National Private Hire & Taxi Association (NPHTA) said the current problems are related to Christmas rather than a wider shortage of taxis.
Over the weekend, social media was full of posts from people who found it impossible to get a taxi in the cold weather.
NPHTA spokesman Jim Waldron said that is nothing new for mid-December.
“I think this is the annual crib so to speak,” he said. “Every year, around this time, there is generally higher demand for taxis.
“We don’t have a shortage of taxis all year round. At this time of the year there is huge demand and let’s be honest, it comes back to ... there is no Luas, there is no DART and there are no other services.
“There is bad publicity and negative publicity at the moment being directed at taxi drivers – it is misplaced.
“It should be directed at consecutive governments for failing to provide a public transport service.”
Have you had issues getting a taxi during the holiday period? With more and more people unable to get taxis, Ciara and Shane discuss alternative taxi apps such as Uber and Lyft @NTBreakfast pic.twitter.com/ytWPuvD79L
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) December 12, 2022
He said Dublin always sees a taxi shortage at Christmas – even as far back as ten years ago when there were “twice as many” taxis on the streets.
“There is never going to be enough taxis at Christmas for everybody coming out of the pub at the same time,” he said.
“Things have to change and the Government has to get their act together to give supports to taxi drivers.
“Rather than us facing the ire of the public it should be Government for failing to provide other forms of public transport.”
Also on the show, Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond said that only 28% of taxi drivers are willing to drive at peak hours in Dublin.
“It is worse than previous years and it has been an issue throughout the year that we do have declining taxi numbers,” he said.
“We have to work harder to make sure we have more drivers out on the street and encourage more drivers into the profession.”
He said there is a shortage of drivers year-round.
“I don’t think anyone is having a go at the taxi driver,” he said.
“I think we are all very grateful for the service they provide and we’re happy to pay it but ultimately, we don’t have enough taxis in Dublin or across Ireland.
“We don’t have enough taxi drivers coming out at the times that are a little bit less appealing; we don’t have enough taxi drivers servicing the airport and we need collectively to do a lot more to get more taxis out on the street to provide that service.”
Mr Waldron said calls for unregulated Uber drivers to be allowed to work in Dublin are “the elephant in the room”.
“This is what people are getting at but they won’t come out and say it,” he said.
“People are trying to destroy what we have at the moment, which is an excellent professional taxi public service.
It is not about bringing in people who just haven’t been regulated or vetted and putting the public at risk. Behind it all, this is the campaign that is going on but people won’t come out and admit it.”
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