Taxi shortage: Drivers 'turn off their apps at midnight'

'I'm probably actually safer walking home alone than just standing there'
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.57 11 Feb 2022

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Taxi shortage: Drivers 'turn o...

Taxi shortage: Drivers 'turn off their apps at midnight'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.57 11 Feb 2022

Share this article

With nightlife back to normal, another issue has cropped up again: a shortage of taxis in Dublin.

A number of people say they found it hard or impossible to get a taxi home last weekend.

But why is it so difficult to find taxis in the capital?


Reporter Barry Whyte for Newstalk Breakfast spoke to Jim Waldron, spokesman for the National Private Hire & Taxi Association.

He says the system is over-reliant on taxis.

"Taxi drivers generally get the brunt of the kickback from punters.

"People say 'I couldn't get a taxi' - but they never say 'I couldn't get a bus or I couldn't get a tram'.

"A lot of drivers have left, I wouldn't say it was an attractive job.

"It's not financially viable unless you're willing to work the Friday night and Saturday night, and put up with all the hassles that's there."

And he says there's a reason there are no cars on taxi apps.

"Another thing that customers generally complain about is that they couldn't get a taxi on their app.

"Most taxi drivers turn off their apps at midnight or around midnight because app companies charge, on average, around 15% per job.

"And if there's lots of people on the street, why would you want to do the app work when you're getting 15% more for every job that you do."

'I waited about 40 minutes'

One woman says she felt safer walking home than waiting in the city centre.

"I was on a night out in the city centre, and I'd say I waited about 40 minutes trying to get a taxi - before deciding I'm probably actually safer walking home alone".

She says while this is a 40 minute walk, it is preferable to "just standing there waiting for another hour or so."

"No taxis were coming... I passed genuinely hundreds of people doing the same.

"So many girls out of it - in no state to be wondering the streets on their own, broken away from friend groups.

"A good few men just wondering in the middle of roads.

"I don't know what the solution is, be it by expanding the Nitelink network or something similar.

"This is just genuinely tens of accidents waiting to happen - it's just dangerous".

Another woman says she was out last Saturday on Dublin's Dawson Street.

"The MyTaxi app, there's no taxis available, there's no taxis on the street.

"Nitelink doesn't go my way, Luas is stopped - so I ended up walking home from the city centre to Cabra.

"It's not that safe: walking up O'Connell Street, Parnell Street is pretty dodgy - but what is your alternative?

"It's scary walking through town alone at 3 o'clock in the morning, but you literally have no alternative".

One former taxi driver, who worked for 17 years, says he left the profession due to the pandemic.

"Now that I'm out of it now it's just Monday to Friday, so I'm happy with that.

"Night times would have been a little bit tricky - five or six incidents in 16, 17 years.

"People trying to rob you, and once or twice threatened."

And he says more people are finding other jobs.

"There's about four or five of my friends that are leaving.

"I think the big problem in the city centre at the weekend is everywhere closing at the same time.

"So you've tens of thousands of people coming out.

"I think if things maybe change, staggered closing times maybe, that could probably work".

Main image: Composite image shows an an iPhone displaying the 'MyTaxi' app in Berlin, Germany, and taxis in line at Dublin's Temple Bar in 2011. Picture by: dpa picture alliance archive/Ian Pilbeam/Alamy Stock Photo

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