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Tuesday 30 May 2023 Dublin: 16°C
Leah Farrell/
# Cost of Living
NTA may recommend an increase in taxi fares in response to rising fuel costs
Industry representatives have said demand has not returned to pre-pandemic levels and rising fuel costs are adding pressure on drivers.

A REVIEW BY the National Transport Authority (NTA) of the national maximum taxi fare may recommend an increase in prices as the industry feels the effects of soaring fuel costs.

Representatives from the industry claim it has not seen a full recovery after the pandemic and that drivers are now also being hit with rising fuel costs.

Drivers say they have not seen a national fare increase since 2018, as a recommended 4.5% rise in 2019 was delayed due to the pandemic.

A fresh NTA review of the national maximum taxi fare is currently underway and the authority told The Journal that fuel costs will be a “major contributor” as it considers increases.

David McGuinness, chairperson of Tiomanai Tacsai na hEireann (TTnH) said that there has been more activity since Covid restrictions were lifted, but that demand has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

“I’d say Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are probably back to 80%, but Monday to Thursday is still at 50%,” he told The Journal.

“To have massive fuel hikes basically forced on us on top of that is having a really detrimental effect on the industry.”

Because of rising fuel costs, he said the way the industry operates may have to dramatically change as drivers may not be able to bear the cost burden of travelling longer distances to pick up customers.

“You don’t get paid for driving three or four kilometres to pick up someone for the app companies, that’s at the drivers expense,” he explained. “If you do that six or seven or ten times a day. that’s an extra cost the driver can’t afford.”

McGuinness also said drivers may choose to park up at ranks, around busy locations, or to only collect fares that are in their area in order to offset the cost of their operations.

There have been calls recently for an emergency €1 surcharge to be added to taxi journeys to account for the rising costs of petrol and diesel.

McGuinness said that while his organisation supports those calls, TTnH is urging the government to go further than that and lower taxes on fuel, a measure he said would benefit all motorists. 

“Everybody is hit by this, including other commercial vehicles like ourselves – the hauliers have been calling for the same in their meetings,” he said.

On Wednesday Cabinet signed off on a cut in excise on petrol and diesel, which will see the cost of an average tank of petrol or diesel drop by €12 and €9 respectively.

McGuinness said he does not think the announcement this week “will have any impact” and called for the government to consider cuts to other taxes on fuel. 

He said drivers will also be hoping for a considerable increase in the national maximum taxi fare to help ease the burden on them. 

“You have to take into account that the industry hasn’t been given an increase over the previous two years but the cost of everything has gone up,” he said.

“It’s not just fuel, I bought tyres last week and they were up €30 per tyre. It would have to be a substantial increase to make a difference.”

However a recommendation from the NTA is not likely until late summer, with a public consultation period due to begin around six weeks from now. 

In response to a query from The Journal, the NTA said the review is “well underway” and that fuel costs are “a major contributor in consideration of increases”. 

The authority said the proposal for a €1 emergency fare surcharge is not possible under the existing legal framework.

“The existing Maximum Fares Order states that the fares and charges contained in the schedule to it are fixed; they are the maximum fares and charges that may be charged by the driver,” the NTA said.

“Extra metered charges that are allowed, which include a booking fee, tolls and additional passenger charges are specified in the order, and a surcharge for fuel or otherwise is explicitly not among them.”

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