The Taxis for Ireland Coalition has renews its calls for Government to act urgently to address the chronic shortage of taxis across Ireland, particularly during peak times. Speaking to TDs and Senators in Leinster House, Taxis for Ireland members (VFI is a founding member) have again highlighted research which clearly demonstrates the difficulty people all over Ireland are experiencing when trying to access taxi services.
The National Transport Authority’s (NTA) own statistics reveal marked decreases in the number of both taxi drivers and vehicles over the past decade – the number of licensed drivers declined by over 24% between 2012 and November 2023, while the number of vehicles licensed for use as taxis decreased by almost 10% over the same period.
Despite these stark figures, it became clear to the Taxis for Ireland coalition in recent discussions with the NTA that the regulator does not acknowledge the critical issue of taxi supply shortage in Ireland and does not see the need to take substantial measures to improve the situation.
Research carried out on behalf of Coalition members by YouGov, RedC and Bounce Insights has already shown that the taxi supply crisis is affecting passengers significantly: one-third of those surveyed experienced difficulties booking or hailing a taxi in the last three months, and 39% expressed safety concerns due to taxi shortages. The majority of Irish adults – 7 in 10 – said they struggle to secure transportation home from nights out.
In light of this growing crisis, coalition members will hold a briefing today, Wednesday, 31st January, at the AV room in Leinster House, hosted by Senator Tim Lombard. The session, which will see attendance from TDs across the government, will present a full paper on the issue, emphasising the necessity for government intervention to resolve the problem.
The coalition proposes five key policy recommendations to mitigate the taxi supply shortage:
- Establish minimum market-based targets for an increased Small Public Service Vehicles (SPSV) driver and vehicle license population by 2026.
- Develop policies and actions to meet these targets promptly.
- Advance the proposed consultation on SPSV regulations to Q2 2024.
- Reevaluate the current requirement for new SPSVs to be Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs).
- Rethink the emphasis on geography-based knowledge in the SPSV Driver Entry Test due to technological advancements.