National Transport Authority (NTA) recruitment campaigns must be an annual occurrence to solve ongoing issues with the taxi industry, rather than fare increases, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Dublin Rathdown Deputy Neale Richmond said: “The NTA recently launched a recruitment campaign to attract more taxi drivers into the industry following a steep drop in the number of drivers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“SPSV taxi driver licenses have declined sharply since the onset of the pandemic; 1,942 licenses have been issued since 2020, compared to 1,673 issued in 2019 alone.
“2019 saw the highest number of licenses issued thanks to a successful recruitment campaign by the NTA in 2018 which is now being replicated.
“These recruitment campaigns cannot be launched only every few years, they must be an annual event to ensure that we have a steady flow of drivers entering the industry rather than the current peak followed by a steady decline
“While it is welcome that 906 new licenses have been issued over the past 12 months, we cannot expect this one campaign or one increase in applications to solve all the issues in the industry.
“Minister Ryan must look at ways to incentivise people to turn to taxi-driving by reducing the cost of taxi licenses and airport taxi permits, as well as removing unnecessary bureaucracy.
“Come September 1st, taxi fares will rise by 12%, with a higher volume of this increase weighted on night-time journeys.
“With the cost of living and inflation impacting people at every turn, this fare increase serves to punish taxi customers for a lack of supply that is no fault of their own.
“The rise in licenses issued this year and the accompanying recruitment campaign are of course very welcome moves, but we cannot expect them to solve this issue in its entirety”, Deputy Richmond concluded.