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Monday 6 February 2023 Dublin: 1°C
Wanderley Massafelli/ Taxis in Dublin city centre.
# Taxi Industry
Over 3,000 taxi licences currently inactive as industry struggles to recruit drivers
National Transport Authority CEO Anne Graham said the number of drivers returning to the industry is around 10% less compared to pre-pandemic levels.

THE NATIONAL TRANSPORT Authority (NTA) has said that just over 3,000 taxi licences are currently inactive as it tries to encourage more drivers to return to the industry.

NTA CEO Anne Graham said the number of drivers returning to the industry is around 10% less compared to pre-pandemic levels. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week programme, Graham said that as of September, there are currently 19,145 active taxi vehicles and 25,327 active drivers across the country. 

“A large percentage would be active. We would have done some surveys back in July and August… and a large proportion of them are now returning,” she said.

“We’ve about just over 3,000 inactive licences that haven’t yet returned to the industry and our focus in the last couple of years through Covid was supporting the industry to ensure that we had as many drivers retained in the industry.”

She said that one of the things the NTA did was allow vehicle licences to go inactive for a longer period of time so that they would become available once demand increased.

“What we’ve seen is that yes, demand for travel has increased, but the numbers returning to the industry is still about 10% less than pre-Covid, and what we’re trying to do is encourage as many of the inactive licences as well as those that would have possibly lost their licence associated with the vehicle age next year, and retain as many of them into the industry as possible.”

 Graham also said the NTA has issued between 800 and 900 new licences this year.

“That has shown that people are returning to the industry. There is a licencing process that is managed by An Garda Síochána, they are the licencing authority and we support them in that,” she added.

Demand for taxis has increased in recent months, with revellers in Dublin reporting a significant shortage in the number of taxis available at the end of their nights out in the city centre.

A survey by the National Transport Authority earlier this year found that 93% of licensed drivers were working but only 29% were working Friday and Saturday nights. 

Drivers recently told The Journal that they were avoiding peak periods of demand or leaving the job altogether because they were concerned for their safety in “violent” cities at night

In September, the NTA introduced a 12% taxi fare increase which saw the standard initial charge increase from €3.80 to €4.20.

The initial charge during premium periods – 8pm-8am and Sundays and public holidays – went from €4.20 to €4.80.

“A higher proportion of the increase went towards the evening hours. That was to try and incentivise drivers because they would get higher earnings at nighttime if they operate at night, and that was the approach that we took to try and see could we incentivise the nighttime working,” Graham said. 

Ahead of the Christmas period, Graham said that the NTA is “making every effort” to increase the amount of public transport available, but added that the NTA is also experiencing a shortage of bus drivers. 

“We have now got 10 services operating on a 24-hour basis in Dublin, one in Cork, and we want to increase that number, and just as we’re having driver shortages in the taxi industry, we’re also having them unfortunately the bus industry as well,” she said. 

“What we have still, is a driver shortage in Dublin in particular, which is impacting on the number of services that are being operated and some short term cancellations have to be put in place.

“We’re also seeing that car congestion in the cities is impacting on our bus services and on the running times of our services to such an extent that some services have to be cancelled.”

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