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Tables turn as extra taxis queue at rank

Source: Irish Independent Sunday 6 January 2001
Author:  Nicola Anderson

MORE than 2,000 additional taxis are lined up to take queues of commuters to their destinations in the coming weeks but union officials have warned that taxi ranks are already "bursting at the seams."

A number of drivers have received parking tickets as a result of being parked beyond the rank at Dublin's St Stephen's Green since 450 new taxis came on board after de-regulation, said Tommy Gorman of the National Taxi Drivers' Union.

And he said the parking situation for taxi cabs can only get worse, with 1,630 more taxis coming on board and the pending loss of taxi ranks at Stephen's Green, Abbey Street and Busaras due to the Luas system.

And though taxi drivers have been promised new replacement ranks around the city, these will probably be small, holding just two or three cars, he claimed.

"If the situation is already bad with just 450 new taxis on the street, what is the situation going to be like in March or April?" Mr Gorman asked.

Around 2,080 applications have been received by Dublin Corporation and the remaining 1,630 have been given 'conditional offers', having paid the new taxi fee of 5,000 and are now in the process of getting PSV licences and insurance or clearance for their vehicles from the Garda Carriage Office or the National Car Testing centres.

Just 165 licences sought were for wheelchair accessible vehicles, liable for a 100 fee.

Mr Gorman said taxi drivers are already feeling the pinch in the post-Christmas period, with fewer people taking taxis and the situation can only worsen.

"We have sought reports on numerous occasions from the minister to prove that de-regulation has worked in any other country but every time we mention it they go silent," he said.

The Judicial Review of the taxi drivers' Supreme Court challenge to de-regulation resumes on Thursday.

The taxi drivers have engaged the services of former Attorney General John Rogers for their appeal. He has already contested in the High Court that the de-regulation is a breach of their property rights in that it will create 8,000 new licences and "constitute ruin" for existing drivers.

Meanwhile the Dublin Chamber of Commerce welcomed the 2,000 new taxis due within the next few weeks and said the expansion of the taxi service is part of the solution to traffic issues in the city.


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