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Dublin taxi services still suffering a year into pandemic

A taxi rank in Dublin City, courtesy of TaxFareFinder.

Since March of 2020, the businesses of taxi drivers have suffered severely. There has been a 70% fall-off in the demand for taxis, while many drivers may go days without receiving a fare.

Tony Rowe, taxi driver and chairman of the National Transport Assembly, said drivers are “leaving the industry in droves”.

“There’s still very little work even though some things are opened back up,” he said.

“Many drivers have been off since March, some of them are coming back now because the Covid payment has been reduced but there’s not enough jobs to make enough to live on. A lot of drivers I talk to now have young families and mortgages and they’ve started looking for work elsewhere.”

The taxi drivers of the Liberties are much the same.

“There is no work out there for taxi drivers right now,” local taxi driver Shayne Phelan told the Liberty.

Taxi on busy Dublin City street, curtesy of Meanwhile in Ireland.

“Only for customers I have built up over the last twenty years, I would have no fares at all. No one is walking off Darts and trains these days in need of a lift, no one is coming out of pubs and nightclubs looking to get home,” Phelan said.

“Today my friend did a twelve-hour shift and only made €8 off the ranks”

Shayne PHELAN, TAXI DRIVER IN THE LIBERTIES

“In a way, taxi services are a product of people socialising. So many drivers I know have had to go on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Today my friend did a twelve-hour shift and only made €8 off the ranks.”

The average taxi driver earns between €37,000 to €45,000 a year, while paying insurance fees of €4,000-€6000.

“As an individual, I am down around forty thousand euro since the 12th of March last year.

“An awful lot more must be done by the government for taxi drivers, we’re all being hit hard,” said Phelan.

Around the country, call centre employees of Irish taxi services have had their hours cut due to a lack of bookings.

“For the last year it’s been hard, we’re all down to two-day weeks,” Mark Gallagher of NRC Taxis on James’s Street said.

“We cannot meet our drivers anymore because of Covid. Whenever a spare shift comes up, we’re all jumping for the chance to take it.”

In September 2020 1,500 taxi drivers took to the streets demanding improved financial packages, but the industry continues to struggle.

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