Public Transport and Taxis in Dublin
Proposals for an improvement in Dublin
Report prepared for the
National Taxi Driver's Union
and the Irish Taxi Driver Federation
Introduction and Summary
Dublin's taxi service is a small part of
Dublin's public transport system, which in turn constitutes less than half of
the total transport system of the capital. The basic problem lies not with the
city's taxi service but with its entire transport system. The latter is
functioning very badly due to a combination of poor planning, under-investment
and rapid economic growth.
The very poor transport system imposes a large
burden on the taxi service because one of its roles is as a residual provider of
transport, as we show later. Inevitably the taxi service shows many strains
under this burden, whether caused by the poor bus service or traffic congestion.
It is a useless approach to address the strains
in the taxi service purely within the context of the taxi service. One must
start with the bus service and also consider the city's roads and street
network. It is only within a coherent planned approach to the city's transport
system that one ought to consider whether additional taxi licences are
The population and the economy of Dublin have
suffered grievously from an absence of planning and an ad-hoc approach to
solving problems. Ad hoc policy prescriptions that are conceived without
reference to an overall urban planning context have frequently caused bigger
problems in other sectors and often worsened the perceived problems that they
were intended to solve. It is quite likely that the proposal to deregulate
Dublin taxis could fall into this trap.
Belatedly, the DTI report and recommendations
have given us a proper planning context for Dublin's transport. It would be
worse than useless to ignore that report and attempt to implement an
ill-considered economics experiment with the Dublin taxi service. Dublin's
transport system and its taxi service are both too important for that.
Brief summary of report
This report examines the role of the taxi
service in Dublin's transport system. It then makes proposals for Dublin
transport, including the taxi service within the context of the DTI report and
its recommendations. These proposals are both realistic and yet readily
achievable. They would enhance the economic and social functioning of our city.
The approach in this report is contrasted with
the alternative proposal of partial deregulation for the taxi service with no
consideration of the wider transport issues. Previous experience in Dublin
suggests that the outcome would not be satisfactory. It could also result in
damage to the economy of Dublin mainly because of the unfavourable impression on
visiting business- people and tourists. Both previous experiences in Dublin and
economic theory would suggest that the taxi service that would greet them would
be chaotic, unsavoury and would very likely overcharge them. These impressions
would adversely affect Dublin's economic competitiveness compared to other
western European competitor cities.
Transport proposals for Dublin
- In the short to medium-term, the
recommendations in the DTI report ought to be fully implemented.
- A series of improvements to Dublin Bus
services ought to be implemented immediately which broaden the scope of the
service in terms of routes and times of service, including night services.
- Improvements ought to be made at key
transport interfaces in the city like Dublin airport and Heuston station and
the facilities for loading taxis.
- Park and ride facilities ought to be
introduced in the Autumn.
- City centre streets ought to be restricted
to buses and taxis in similar fashion to many European cities.
- A small number of additional taxi licences
ought to be issued under the current interim arrangements.
- Additional taxi ranks ought to be installed
in the city and shelters erected in some places.
- A review of the initial effects of these
public transport improvements ought to be undertaken early in the New Year.
Within a year, the following measures ought to
be implemented as well;
- An ongoing subsidy ought to be re-introduced
for Dublin Bus.
- Implementation of quality bus corridors must
be made an absolute priority by Dublin Corporation, the other local
authorities and Dublin Bus.
- Further investment in traffic management in
the city area
- Further restrictions on parking and more
importantly enforcement of parking regulations, not just in the city area
but throughout the Dublin metropolitan area.
These proposals would bring about a
much-improved public transport service in Dublin with a major reduction in
transport bottlenecks. At the same time, they would ensure the continuation of a
professional, full-time, first class taxi-service in the city that is an
important feature of the drive to make Dublin a major trading and services city
in the European economy.
Taxis and public transport
A city's taxi service is a very small part of a
city's transport system, whose main components are roads and an (usually)
integrated public transport network of buses, trains and trams. Visitors and
locals give rise to two very different types of demand for taxi services that
result in a dual service role for taxis.
Locals use taxis as residual transport when a
car is not suitable or public transport is not available. Therefore there is a
high demand for taxis among young people and relatively poor people that do not
Another source of local demand for taxis is the
demand for a door to door service whether from local disabled people or other
locals in the centre of the city.
Taxi-drivers play an important promotional role
for a city -- without charge Visitors to a city are very dependent on public
transport, as it is difficult to drive a hired car in an unfamiliar city. A
visitor's demand for taxi services is partly dependent on his or her financial
situation and partly dependent on the city's public transport network and its
A city's taxi service has a visibility impact
on visitors out of all proportion to its significance in the public transport
system. The service to visitors has a multi-dimensional aspect, which performs
an incalculable marketing benefit for a city. For visitors, particularly
businesspersons, a full-time taxi-driver fulfils an important role as the main
alternative contact with Dublin outside of the direct business contacts of the
visiting businessperson. The Dublin taxi- driver becomes an instant tour guide
as an additional free service. It is easy to take this service for granted and
under-estimate its value to the city's economy.
Two key features of a city's taxi service;
- Its disproportionate impact on visitors,
particularly visiting business- people,
- Its residual role in public transport
Therefore, it is meaningless to attempt a
stand-alone analysis of a city's taxi service without a full consideration of
the city's public transport network. The Oscar Faber report falls down in this
regard. Furthermore, it is essential for sustaining the Celtic tiger and
Dublin's economic success that the city's taxi drivers remain professional,
full-time, reliable, and knowledgeable of the city's geography, culture and
Dublin - Economic and planning background
Dublin is clearly prospering economically at
present. In recent years, the growth rate of the Dublin region has exceeded even
the very high national average rate. But it is also showing evidence of serious
congestion after just a few short years of growth, particularly in traffic and
house prices. This is regrettable and could have been avoided. By European
standards, Dublin is a medium-sized city (smaller than Birmingham, Manchester,
Glasgow, Lyon, Lisbon, Brussels, Vienna, and Hamburg). Policy-makers need to
implement a range of actions, which will both ensure the sustainability of that
success and improve the quality of life for Dublin's citizens.
The traffic congestion is caused by poor public
transport and sometimes by an inadequate road infrastructure. With rising
affluence, citizens will only use a public transport network if it is
significantly more efficient and convenient than car travel. The housing issues
are surprising given our relatively low density of population. It is clear that
Dublin' past development plans are inappropriate for the modern-day economy.
Poor planning in Dublin has contributed to
There is considerable circumstantial evidence
that "greater Dublin City"" has suffered from inadequate land use
planning and poor planning guidelines, where those existed.
Dublin compares unfavourably with Cork. It
adopted the LUTS (Land Use and Transportation Study) proposals in 1979. By and
large, the LUTS has provided a consistent structure to Cork's development plans
since then and for all urban transport developments. Dublin has no equivalent.
Dublin has had only two attempts at an integrated approach to physical planning
in modern times. There were broad land use approaches established in the Dublin
Advisory Plan and Regional Report that was agreed in 1967. This has never been
updated. The strategy that was prepared by the Eastern Regional Development
Organisation was never adopted by the Government or the local authorities.
The report and recommendations of the Dublin
Transport Initiative are a very welcome development in the planning vacuum of
Dublin. Therefore, it is all the more important that all transport proposals are
prepared within the context of this report and are fulfilling its
recommendations. The Oscar Faber report does not mention the DTI or its
Unsuitable spatial development has compounded
the transport problem in Dublin
The low density planning guidelines that have
been in existence since the second world war have not served the city well in
recent times. Higher densities would have been more appropriate, particularly
closer to the city centre (where it would be easier to provide high capacity and
high frequency public transport). The overall planning concept was to welcome
car ownership and make way for it in suburban estates without sufficient
foresight as to the ultimate requirements for trunk road infrastructure or the
implications for bus transport.
Various trends in land use in Dublin need to be
urgently reviewed, preferably within an integrated overall framework. Many
patterns of development have put undue and unnecessary strains on the city's
One notable trend has been to locate large
concentrations of council/corporation housing in relatively remote suburban
locations. Since the 1970s, it has not been possible to locate sufficient
industrial employment near these concentrations of housing in a manner that
would make large numbers of industrial jobs genuinely available to unemployed
people living on council/corporation estates. The dispersed location of public
housing makes it all the more necessary for good public transport to these
suburbs, even though it also makes it very uneconomic to provide them with good
quality public transport.
In the 1980s and 1990s, newer industry and
particularly high technology industries have shown a strong preference to locate
in relatively attractive neighbourhoods, very often, far removed from
disadvantaged areas. In Dublin, there has been an increasing tendency for these
factories to locate in greenfield locations beyond the built-up area. The IDA
and the county planning authorities do not seem to have sufficient regard for
the demands, which these locations will put on an already inadequate Dublin,
Another unsatisfactory trend has been a drift
in business districts and the establishment of satellite business districts.
Quite often, their locations are not optimal either from the point of view of
the transport infrastructure of the city nor the prospects of offering
employment to the long-term unemployed. Public agencies have often followed and
sometimes played a leading role in these trends. Examples of these trends are
the drift in the main business district in Dublin towards the Grand Canal. The
establishment of major satellite commercial and office locations in Stillorgan
and Blackrock in the affiuent Southeast of the city are very sub-optimal in the
context of the city's transport infrastructure. The Grand Canal area is a very
unsuitable location for public transport from all suburbs of the city except the
south-east. Stillorgan and Blackrock are two of the most unsuitable locations
for office development, particularly in the absence of the Southern Cross
A city is a single economic entity
A city is a single economic entity. If it is
working efficiently, then there are many and varied economic opportunities
available to the entire city population. This greatly enhances economic growth
in the city and indirectly in the whole country. For instance, the unemployed
ought to be able to commute to a job anywhere in a city. The economic boom has
resulted in considerable numbers of job vacancies of all types and skill levels
in Dublin. But these job opportunities are often just not available to many
people in the city for social, and particularly transport reasons. Dublin is
seriously malfunctioning as an economic entity.
The biggest obstacle to Dublin working
efficiently as a city is that the public transport network is very poor and
fares are too high. Public transport is partly a problem in itself but it is
also due to the low-density sprawl of housing in the suburbs, which makes it
particularly difficult to operate high frequency and convenient public
transport. Existing suburbs cannot be rebuilt or relocated. And it is important
to recognise that in housing terms, they were a major improvement on what
preceded them. Therefore, the main solution, particularly in the short term, is
better city transport and especially public transport.
Public transport in Dublin
Demand for transport has grown rapidly in
Dublin City due to;
- population growth, and
- economic growth.
Other demographic trends are also a factor
because of the bulge of young adults.
Tourism has grown rapidly in the 1990s but this
is true of many cities.
The problem is simple. The transport
infrastructure and public transport network has not been improved to keep pace
with this growth. Worse still, it was very inadequate to start with.
The road infrastructure is inadequate. The
improvements that have been planned are five years behind schedule while car
ownership and traffic levels are almost five years ahead of the levels that were
forecast in the DTI reports. The consequent congestion has a major negative
impact on taxi services.
The public transport network was bad a
generation ago. Now it is one of the most inadequate of any similar-sized city
in Europe. It is under-funded and inadequately managed. The population and
economic growth of the city has led to increased demand for public transport in
terms of the level and breadth of the service, for instance late night. Irish
trade has more than doubled in the 1990s and this brings many more visiting
business-people to Dublin who would be inclined to use fast and user-friendly
public transport in the cities that they visit regularly. However, they will not
use a slow and irregular bus service.
The LUAS story has become a farce. It
exemplifies the worst aspects of the inadequacies of public transport planning
The real issue is that demand for taxi services
is inextricably linked with the quality and extent of the city's public
transport network particularly as regards demand from local residents. A growing
and increasingly prosperous city will exert huge residual demand for public
transport on the taxi service when the public transport network has such poor
coverage and quality of service. The Oscar Faber report itself shows that
Dublin's taxi ar;d private hire fleet is relatively larger than comparable
cities when compared with population. However, the report fails to elucidate the
reasons for this.
Dublin transportation initiative (DTI)
The DTI report summarised its objectives as
Support economic regeneration and development
throughout the Dublin area, help maintain and reinforce the city centre as the
country's prime commercial, retail and cultural centre, give a better deal to
public transport, emphasise the movement of people and goods, not just vehicles,
bring greater equity to the transport system, improving accessibility for all
and taking account of the real needs of disadvantaged people, address the access
requirements of the ports and airport for both freight and passengers, give the
car its rightful place in the transport system but not let it dominate, bring
about environmental improvements, provide an integrated approach to transport
and land use.
The DTI strategy is an integrated plan for
Dublin's transport, which emphasises the importance of a greatly improved public
transport network, while making certain necessary improvements to the road
network. The DTI strategy could not work without this.
This core fact of Dublin's transport strategy
was not adequately reflected in the Oscar Faber report. With Celtic tiger growth
rates, nothing will work properly in Dublin transport unless the core issue of
the improvement of the public transport network is addressed.
The city's taxi service can only play a minor
role in the overall transport strategy for Dublin. By implication, an ad-hoc
approach that is exclusively focused on the taxi service is expecting that taxis
can fill the large gaps left by the inadequate public transport network. This
Earlier we have outlined the three core
functions of a taxi service in any city. All are necessary functions in any
city. In addition, the service to visitors has a multi-dimensional aspect, which
performs an incalculable marketing benefit for a city. If the taxi deregulation
proposal was implemented, there is a very large probability that the core
functions of the taxi service would not be fulfilled adequately, particularly
the multi-dimensional service to visitors.
Some proposals in the DTI will take many years
to implement, for instance, building LUAS and major road projects like the
northern motorway and the south-eastern motorway. However, a number of measures
could be implemented very quickly, particularly an improvement to the bus
Despite the central role that the DTI intends
for the bus service in Dublin's transport strategy, the bus service has actually
deteriorated in the last 30 years. So actual supply of public transport has
contracted while potential demand has greatly increased due to the growth in the
population and the very high economic growth rates in the 1990s. The net result
is huge pressure on the taxi fleet. The measures that caused an actual reduction
in the bus service were the abolition of the subsidy and of conductors. The
latter has caused slower journey times as drivers collect fares and issue
tickets at every bus stop. "Bunching" of buses has worsened with
Major new investment is required in city bus
services. The re-introduction of annual subsidies for the city bus services is
essential. Bus lanes and/or quality bus corridors are urgently required.
Permanent Park and ride schemes are long overdue. Cork had a successful
experience of park and ride last Christmas.
There are major requirements for additional
cross-suburb routes. The termination of many north side routes at Parnell Square
or Marlborough St is very unsatisfactory because most of the business districts
are south of the river and often close to the Grand Canal.
There is a need for a major expansion of the
night service in terms of routes. The demand for nighttime transport in Dublin
has greatly increased and it is incumbent on Dublin Bus, as the state-owned
monopoly, to provide an acceptable service.
Taxi service - big increase in productivity
In contrast to the bus service, the taxi fleet
(apart from the sizeable increase in recent years) has seen a big increase in
efficiency and utilisation rates from the taxi fleet due to;
- Improved productivity by drivers
- Improved radio networks, and
- Greater utilisation of vehicles with
However, taxis have been seriously affected by
one major external factor, traffic congestion. The peak hours have got worse and
all-day congestion is appearing in some parts of the city.
In addition, there appears to have been some
alterations to traffic signal sequencing in some key city centre streets in
recent years, like O'Connell St. These are also causing slower journey times for
Economic theory and the Dublin taxi service
The deregulation proposal for taxis is
inconsistent even within the logic of deregulation for two reasons. Firstly,
there is no economic justification for recommending that entry be deregulated
and not fares. If the choice is to let the market dictate, then there is a very
strong argument to allow price deregulation as well, in order that supply and
demand will balance. Secondly, if deregulation or market liberalisation is to be
chosen for Dublin transport, it makes no sense to introduce a half-baked
deregulation for the taxi service on its own when it is the bus service that is
totally regulated and state controlled. Given the residual nature of demand for
taxi services, the first active intervention must necessarily be with the bus
service, whether to add more capacity or to allow some competition.
Inconsistent deregulation proposal
In any service business, deregulation implies
liberalising entry and fares while retaining regulations for safety and
standards. If one is attempting to impose a free market prescription, prices
must be liberalised otherwise supply may not be sufficient to achieve market
clearing at all times. This is precisely what is likely to happen in Dublin
during certain periods if the deregulation proposal in the Oscar Faber report is
Where deregulation has been introduced in a
transport sector in Europe or the US for (say) airlines or road haulage, market
entry and fares are always deregulated together. Partial deregulation is the
worst possible proposal for a transport sector. It cannot work.
The Inter-departmental report on Taxis and
Hackneys, 1992 In this report we recommend against deregulation of the taxi
service. There has been mixed experiences with all forms of transport
deregulation and particularly taxi services.
The arguments for and against full deregulation
of the Dublin taxi service were very well summarised in the above-named report
in paragraphs 5.20 to 5.27. The most compelling argument against deregulation is
the avoidance of a return to the unsatisfactory service that obtained in Dublin
prior to 1978. Controls on entry into the taxi trade were introduced, precisely
to improve the taxi service. It is unfortunate that the Oscar Faber report does
not refer to this. The Oscar Faber report merely states; "However there was
concern that the unrestricted increase in the number of taxis was leading to
instability in the market, and following a review of the market, restrictions on
entry were put in place in 1978." In fact, that review culminated in the
Inter- departmental report. That report says in par 5.21,
"The desirability of the total removal
of controls on numbers must, however, be viewed in the light of the experience
of the system, which operated prior to 1978. The quality of the taxi service,
prior to the introduction of controls, was generally regarded as sub-standard
with poor quality vehicles and widespread abuses, particularly overcharging,
being the norm. Account must also be taken of international experience
The type of taxi service that existed prior to
1978 is exactly what a theoretical analysis would suggest; poor quality of
service including illegalities and an unstable provision of service.
Paragraph 5.25 of the Inter-departmental report
summarises the arguments against deregulation as follows;
"In theory, an approach based on free
entry to the taxi market is attractive. Most advocates of a deregulated taxi
market suggest that free entry with price competition, subject to strict
quality control is the most efficient strategy for regulating the trade. There
is, however, no firm evidence to confirm that deregulation of taxi markets
actually achieves the desired aims. The experience in Ireland before 1978 and
more recently in a number of UK cities would suggest that, while open entry
solves immediate problems of supply, it can result in a poor quality unstable
market. In any event, once taxi fares are controlled, and given the nature of
the service this is considered essential, the normal concept of a free market
is no longer applicable. For these reasons, the free entry approach is not
seen as a viable option at this time."
There is an unwarranted focus on the prices
for taxi plates
Many commentators assume that the existence of
transfer values on taxi plate licences is automatic economic proof that there is
an insufficient number of taxi licences in existence. This type of economic
analysis is excessively simplistic and ignores the real economy, which has many
complexities. Simple perfect markets do not exist. Furthermore, there are
frictional, transactional, information and set-up costs involved in all
businesses. This explains why there is normally a transfer price (commonly
called "key money") for a lease even where a market-related rent is
being charged. An economics student might say that this cannot be. In fact, the
real economic world is more complex than the first chapter in an economics
textbook. Not only do transfer prices exist for leases with market rents, these
prices tend to fluctuate considerably with the economic cycle and are very high
at present. In an economic slowdown, they can easily go to zero.
This analysis does not suggest that a
continuously rising transfer price for taxi plates is desirable. It is not. The
latest evidence is that it has stabilised and may be falling slightly. In the
next economic slowdown, transfer prices could easily fall sharply.
It is important to examine the labour market
aspect of any economic activity. Dramatic change is taking place in the Irish
labour market at the present time. The co-incidence of unprecedented economic
growth with a much lower birth rate is causing a very rapid shift in Ireland
away from a structural excess supply of labour. The economy is already
experiencing cyclical shortages of labour in many subsectors. In ten years time,
when the proposed taxi deregulation would be complete, it could be facing into a
long-term structural shortage of labour. This would have major implications for
the taxi service if deregulation of entry were to be introduced.
There appears to be an implicit assumption in
the Oscar Faber report that there is an unlimited supply of people who want to
be full-time taxi-drivers in Dublin irrespective of probable earnings and the
uncertainty of earnings in a deregulated entry situation. This assumption is
wrong, even before the disappearance of the structural labour surplus. There are
alternative jobs and there is also the social welfare system.
One must assume that no active taxi-driver
would be allowed to claim social welfare. However it is open to any person to
obtain both a PSV licence and a taxi-plate for their family car. (Cars of the
Toyota Corolla or Volkswagen Golf class are big enough to be acceptable for a
taxi-plate.) Many people with other jobs or some type of other employment will
feel inclined to avail of the opportunity of occasional taxi work. Naturally,
their main job would take precedence. They would take their car out onto the
street in their spare time if they were badly in need of some additional money
By 2008, very few Irish people will be willing
to work full-time as taxi-drivers in a deregulated entry environment, except the
really desperate. Contrary to the implicit assumption of the Oscar Faber report,
the vast majority of Irish people will probably be able to pick and choose
between jobs. Working the streets of Dublin late at night for marginal and
uncertain earnings in constant fear of attack will probably be bottom of the
list in terms of preferred employment options.
Ease of entry - theoretical analysis
The taxi business in Ireland is peculiarly
unsuited to free market deregulation because of its extreme ease of entry in the
short term as well as the long term.
In microeconomic theory, a clear distinction is
made between the potential to vary supply of a product or service in the short
term and the long term. In almost all businesses, there are some inputs that are
fixed in the short term, e.g. factory, machinery, a shop, shop-fittings, buses,
etc. Therefore there are limits to the extent that a producer of goods or
services can vary supply in the short term. While theory assumes that he can
vary inputs, like labour or energy, it assumes that the fixed inputs cannot be
changed in the "short term". In contrast, standard theory assumes that
all fixed inputs are variable in the "long-term".
The consequences of fixed inputs in the short
term is that in almost all businesses, entry to a business sector or capacity
expansion involves time lags and a financial commitment. This process allows
existing producers to make "normal" profits. Short-term fluctuations
in demand about a level trend do not attract many new entrants to the business
thus facilitating normal and stable market conditions and normal profitability
(in theory). Supply of the service can be increased somewhat to meet higher
demand by an increase in variable inputs, particularly labour, e.g. overtime. In
contrast, if an increase in demand became apparent which resulted in a sustained
increase in profitability, this would be expected to attract new entrants or
increases in capacity and consequently a permanent increase in the supply of the
The problem with the taxi service in Ireland is
that there are effectively no fixed inputs in a deregulated market situation.
The reason for this is that a taxi licence would be obtainable on most types of
family cars. Therefore once an owner had a PSV licence and a taxi-plate, he
would be in a position to take it out on the street regularly or even just
When there are no fixed inputs in the short
term, no producer of goods or services can expect to make normal profits.
Consequently, it would be irrational for any taxi-driver to work full time as a
taxi-driver, if they had the opportunity of full-time employment. Apart from
worthwhile employment opportunities, almost any other small business would be
more attractive than driving a taxi. The only situation where full-time
taxi-drivers would continue to exist is where there was chronic oversupply of
labour and very high levels of long-term unemployment. This has occurred in
Ireland in the past in the 1950s and for a time in the 1980s. However it is
patently not the case today. Furthermore labour market projections show that the
very opposite situation of labour shortages will characterise the Irish labour
market in the next decade.
A summary of the problems with a proposal to
deregulate Dublin's taxi service
Deregulating entry to the taxi market without
deregulating fares will probably ensure that no one will be able to earn a
decent living as a full time taxi driver. One must expect that thousands of
people will attempt to take up part-time taxi driving. Economic theory would
strongly suggest that it would become impossible for anyone to earn a useful
income as a full-time taxi- driver without working unacceptably long hours,
because of the ease of entry of part-time drivers.
The taxi service would be likely to fluctuate
substantially on a year to year basis. When taxi driving is perceived to have
become profitable or in recessions when unemployment rises, many new entrants
would be attracted to the trade. In turn, this would greatly depress average
earnings and earnings per hour worked, which would in turn cause many of the
better skilled people to leave the trade for other work. The overall taxi
service would deteriorate as would the average skill level of taxi-drivers.
The major presence of part-time drivers that
have other jobs would lead to a very erratic service, with unpredictable
shortages of taxis occurring frequently. For instance, one could imagine that
many part-timers would be interested in working in October and November to make
some extra money for Christmas. However, in the weeks coming up to Christmas,
many of the same part-timers would be less inclined to work despite the heavy
demand for taxis during this period because of their own work or family
commitments or simply because they are less interested in using their leisure
time to drive a taxi.
By 2008, we can expect many more immigrants to
have arrived in Ireland. A recent economic conference held by the Irish Economic
Association illustrated that this would be a predictable and indeed necessary
development in the Irish economy by then. In addition, there are likely to be
six new member states in the EU (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia,
Estonia and Cyprus) that will lead to an increase in the EU population from 375m
to 480m. The wage levels in these states are much lower than in Ireland and this
is likely to lead to a large influx of legal immigrants to Ireland. In this
labour market scenario, it is very likely that taxi-driving in Dublin would be
one of the first occupational categories to record a high representation of
immigrant workers if entry were deregulated and the earnings became unattractive
to younger Irish workers. This has occurred in many cities in the developed
world and there is no reason why it would not happen in Dublin if deregulation
was introduced. There would be three negative effects of this trend. Firstly,
many taxi drivers would be unfamiliar with the geography of Dublin. Secondly
many drivers might not have good English and some passengers, including possibly
some women passengers, would be uncomfortable with this situation. Thirdly, it
would eliminate the invaluable marketing role that Dublin taxi-drivers do for
the city. Frankly, the "Dublin experience" for visiting business
people and tourists would not be the same with a Romanian or Estonian
One final risk of deregulating entry is that it
would make it easier for a criminal element to get involved in the taxi trade.
Again, this has occurred in many other cities in the world and there is no
guarantee that it could not happen in Dublin if honest and respectable Irish
people are driven out of the business by low and uncertain earnings.
It is very easy to take for granted that an
individual visiting businessperson, male or female, can expect to hire a taxi at
the airport and be driven in safety and with good humour to their destination.
An engaging commentary on Dublin and Ireland will be included. There are many
cities in the world where this can not be assured and visiting business people
are advised to arrange to be met at the airport by a contact person.
A sensibly regulated taxi service is in the
best interests of the future prosperity of the city.
Review of Taxi and Hackney Carriage Service in
the Dublin Area, Oscar Faber in association with Goodbody Economic Consultants
and Irish Marketing Surveys, June 1998.
The Inter-departmental report on Taxis and
Hackneys, Government of Ireland, 1992
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