Taxi drivers must be heard on fare levels - Dessie Ellis TD
Sinn Féin transport spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has said that any changes in taxi fare levels and rates must be done in conjunction with ordinary taxi drivers following extensive consultation and have be sustainable and allow drivers to make a living.
He made his comments as two taxi driver organisations launch a protest today against plans to change some fare levels and tariffs.
Deputy Ellis said;
"These groups are not simply opposed to reform, they are genuinely afraid for their livelihood. Taxi drivers were hit hard by the economic downturn and their costs have risen sharply with recent legislative and regulatory changes made by this government. They have endured a number of new costs including decal stickers and stricter limits on the age of their cars. They have endured these costs and continued to supply a vital service to the public, especially in Dublin. They now seek to ensure that they can stay in business.
“On the face of it, these changes are an increase in fares but due to the removal of the "C" tariff very long journeys will actually be cheaper, average fares will increase by 4% but this will require an adjustment of taxi meters which will cost each driver about 250 euro. The minimum fare has also been decreased.
“Taxi fares have to be competitive and offer value for money but there is not much evidence to show that people feel they do not get that value for money. At peak times taxis are an especially good value option when compared with the cost and inconvenience of some other available opportunities.
“Ordinary taxi drivers have been consistently cut out of the processes which determines how their industry operates and how they can make a living. They must be at the table and able to share their experiences when decisions like this are being made. These hard working drivers contribute a great deal to our communities in the service they provide and need to be respected.
“At the very least the cost of implementing this fare change should be minimised for drivers."