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“Ireland’s 23 Counties Face Taxi Driver Shortage, Government Reports”

Dublin: Government data has confirmed a troubling decline in Ireland’s taxi driver population, as revealed in a response to a parliamentary inquiry led by Independent TD Carol Nolan. Across all 26 counties, there has been a noticeable decrease in the number of taxi vehicles over the past five years, with 23 counties experiencing a shortage.

The decline in taxi licenses has been evident since 2019, resulting in a current deficit of taxi drivers across the majority of Irish counties, including the capital. Nationally, there has been a 3.5% reduction in taxi availability, with a decrease from 27,393 to 26,360 vehicles between 2019 and last year, representing a loss of 1,033 taxis.

The scarcity of taxis has been an ongoing issue exacerbated by the challenges of the pandemic, particularly in regions such as the Borders, Monaghan, and the Midlands-East, where reductions of 17% or more have been recorded. Although Dublin has seen a marginal increase of less than one percent in taxi numbers, areas like Limerick and Kerry have experienced modest growth, with a 7% and 3% increase respectively.

Reversing recent reforms has been proposed as a solution, including revising the requirement for wheelchair-accessible vehicles for new registrations and reconsidering the geography knowledge component of the entry exam. Despite calls for change, these measures remain unchanged.

The Taxi for Ireland Coalition has expressed concerns over the impact of the taxi shortage on the hospitality sector, commuters, and tourism, advocating for a 30% increase in taxi availability by 2027. Kieran Harte, General Manager of Uber Ireland, emphasised the critical role of taxi networks in supporting local economies and urged the government and NTA to take decisive action to address the issue.

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