Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.41 15 Feb 2021


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A Dublin taxi driver says he has only picked up one street fare since returning to work in August.

A new survey has found that two-fifths of taxi drivers have not returned to work since demand dropped as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

The study, commissioned by the National Transport Authority (NTA), said that even those who had returned to work have reported a drop of around 60% in income levels.

This taxi driver, who is 54, told Henry McKean for The Hard Shoulder: "I'm back since August, and I've picked up one fare on the street".

"Last Tuesday I was in town at 10 o'clock in the morning, I'd an NCT at 12.45.

"I drove around town, Baggot Street, Donnybrook, everywhere for two hours before I went to get the NCT and I put nobody in my car."

"I came out this morning at 5.30 in Dublin Airport, straight to the ramp and was still there at 10.35."

Eight hours waiting for a fare

Kevin Beatty is a taxi driver based at Dublin Airport.

"This morning we were here at 4am, and the first 10 drivers didn't get jobs till nearly 9.30", he said.

"There was three flights in - one at 5.20, 5.30 and another one at 6.00 - but you probably could have counted on one hand the amount of people come off those three flights.

"It was mostly cargo", he explained.

He said he has sat for between seven and eight hours waiting for a fare.

"My wife passed away before Christmas, and this chap standing beside me is a widower as well, so we're out because we just need to get out of the house and talk to people".

"When you take a job from here and you go from here to Rathfarnham - and you go through the city centre and you drive through Dame Street and up George's Street, and every shop you see is closed - there's no people on the streets hailing taxis.

"There's no point on you pulling in at a hotel cause there's nobody in the hotels."

"All the ranks that are at hotels, all the ranks that are at shopping centres there's very little traffic coming out of them".

He said he believes taxi incomes could "easily" be down by as much as 75%.

"And that's even with only a third of the taxi fleet back", he said.

'You need to get out of the house'

While Debbie has been driving a taxi for more than 20 years.

She said: "You come out to work in the morning, hopefully you might get one or two jobs - but you won't be getting anymore than that.

"And that can take at least eight to 10 hours".

Debbie said she made just €42 on Saturday: "Some days it's not worth to come out and work - but you need to get out of the house just for your own sanity".

And Darragh Brady said he thinks the industry will not recover for another year.

"What you might earn is gone on diesel - and that's not taking into account the insurance, and we still have the business expenses which we would incur normally throughout the year."

"You need to look forward to something... I'm out here because I want to work, and that gives me a purpose every morning to get out of bed".

"I would think it'll be next year before we see any movement at all, when the flights start to come in and people are allowed to move around again."

Dublin taxi driver 'picked up one fare since August'

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: Taxis are seen at College Green in Dublin City centre  in 2018. Picture by :Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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Baggot Street Coronavirus Restrictions Debbie Donnybrook Dublin Airport Dublin Taxis Kevin Beatty National Transport Authority Taxi Driver The Hard Shoulder

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