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New Rules

'Taxis had no input in this': Taxi fares now 12% more expensive and all drivers must accept card

The standard initial charge has increased to €4.20.

THE COST OF getting a taxi has increased by an average of 12% starting today, while all taxi drivers operating in Ireland must also now accept card payments.

The changes came into effect today after being confirmed by the National Transport Authority (NTA) in June.

David McGuinness of Tiománaí Tacsaí na hÉireann (TTnH), said he understands the public frustration with the price hike, but noted that taxi drivers haven’t had a price increase in more than four years, despite a dramatic increase in fuel costs.

McGuinness said the representative organisation would have preferred a subsidy on fares, so that customers wouldn’t be discouraged from taking taxis by rising costs.

The group also argues that taxi drivers should have a greater say on when fare increases are implemented. A review of taxi fares is generally carried out by the NTA every two years.

“We don’t actually have any input. No taxi driver has any input into the percentage or when these increases are given. That’s all at the hands of the NTA,” McGuinness said.

“The fare increase could have been a bit less if it was done on a more regular basis, and it probably would be more accessible to the public. But the taxi driver themselves, the taxi industry, is not in charge. It has basically no input into when or how that comes about.”

The NTA said the price hike was being introduced to reflect the increasing operating costs faced by taxi drivers following massive increases in fuel prices.

Following the price spike, the standard initial charge has increased from €3.80 to €4.20.

It is the first fare increase since 2018, when the average cost of a taxi journey rose by 4.5%. An increase that was planned to be implemented in 2020 was paused due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The transport authority said average operating costs for taxi drivers had increased by 11% between 2017 and 2022, while a further 1% fare increase was being provided to cover the cost of facilitating cashless payments.

McGuinness added that another problem faced by drivers is that the fare increase requires all taxi metres to be recalibrated, resulting in a cost of over €200.

“It’ll be a long time before any taxi driver actually gets any benefit from the increase,” he said, adding that the cost of having the metre adjusted has doubled in price since 2018.

“We went through the pandemic, where the industry was devastated. Now, without even fuel, the likes of services in garages has gone up, tyres have jumped up by 30-40%. These are costs that a taxi driver has to pay. They don’t have any choice.”

Card payments

McGuinness said the vast majority of taxi drivers already offer card payments but suggested the introduction of mandatory card payment facilities could result in some drivers refusing to work late-night shifts.

“The problem is when it stops working, as we saw in the Aviva last week (a technical issue stopped card payments being made and food and drink was given out for free).

“A taxi driver at two or three o’clock in the morning, when somebody has a few beers on them and the system goes down. That’s where the issues will come up. Speaking to members and taxi drivers, that’s the problem that taxis foresee,” he said.

A survey conducted among taxi drivers in July 2019 showed they earned an average of €28,800 for working 48 weeks of the year. The NTA said a driver’s income would increase by €3,456 annually as a result of the fare increase.

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