TD, Brian Stanley called for a moratorium on issuing new taxi licences at a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Local Government, Environment and Transport this week. The meeting was called to discuss the Report of the Taxi Regulation Review with Minister Alan Kelly.
“I’ve received many complaints from taxi drivers in Laois and Offaly on the difficulties experienced in the taxi industry and I raised the following points with the Minister,” said Deputy Stanley.
The Review Group propose that vehicles over nine years old are taken off the road. I think this is wrong and believe that once a vehicle passes an annual NCT Test it’s fit for purpose.
“There’s a need to make the industry viable for full time taxi drivers to earn a living and also to provide strict vetting procedures. The big issue here is over supply caused by de-regulation and to address this we now require a moratorium on the issuing of new licences. We found out to our cost with the current banking crisis that light touch regulation does not work and tighter regulation is now needed for the taxi industry.”
Stanley claims that full time drivers can’t make a living with many working up to 15 hours per day to get an acceptable wage. He states “The drivers find it impossible to get into the ranks at weekends and are forced to drive around in circles. I’ve had complaints from drivers that they may have to join the back of a long queue outside the taxi rank and are often fined as a result. Many claim that in a 10 hour shift they might make only €30 to €50.
“This is putting huge pressure on full time legitimate taxi drivers and adds to the problems that already exist. It’s essential that a moratorium is put in place immediately to help resolve the problem.”