Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, today said the government should be focused on fixing the challenges facing the taxi sector, not promoting ride-sharing apps that could decimate the industry entirely.
The Meath East TD said:
“Since 2019, we have lost 2,562 taxis from the system, as drivers exit the sector because they can no longer make ends meet.
“The impact of this is now being felt, with people struggling to get a taxi, particularly at busy times.
“However, the solution to this is not to undercut a whole industry by introducing ride-sharing apps, an idea now being deliberately and consistently promoted by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and other Fine Gael representatives.
“The government’s focus should instead be on solving the problems in the taxi sector and making it a viable career, which will help attract and retain more drivers.
“Unfortunately, the Minister for Transport has buried his head in the sand and allowed things to deteriorate.
“Issues such as the ten-year rule and the lack of transferability of plates are causing serious problems for taxi drivers, coming after two years of little to no business during the pandemic, and on top of crippling fuel costs.
“Sinn Féin supports and has repeatedly called for an extension of the ten-year rule to help taxi drivers.
“Most vehicles got significantly less wear and tear over the last two years during the pandemic, as many were parked up for months on end. These cars will still need to pass the NCT and suitability tests, so there will be no compromise on safety.
“It is a common-sense solution that will give drivers breathing space and ensure we don’t lose even more drivers from the sector.
“In addition, to help address the shortage of taxis, particularly at night, the government should extend the operating hours of public transport. That would give people other options if they could not secure a taxi due to the current shortage.
“The government should be taking action to fix problems facing the taxi sector, working to make it a viable career for more people and not seeking to deregulate the sector, undercut thousands of workers and start a race to the bottom when it comes to terms and conditions.”