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Taxi Driver Shortage in Ireland; Regulatory Loopholes Impede Entry to Taxi Industry in Ireland

Dublin: A severe shortage of taxi drivers in Ireland is being labelled as a significant crisis, with concerns mounting over the lack of young people entering the profession due to perceived loopholes in existing laws. The ongoing issue has led to a scarcity of taxis, particularly during weekend nights in many cities across the country, leaving high demand unmet and passengers waiting longer for rides.

The primary obstacle cited for potential drivers is the local knowledge test, which was established prior to the widespread use of smartphones, GPS, and digital mapping technologies in vehicles. With only 34% of applicants passing this outdated test, there’s a growing sentiment that it serves as a barrier rather than a meaningful measure of competency.

Additionally, regulations mandating wheelchair accessibility for small public service vehicles are seen as financially burdensome, further deterring individuals from pursuing a career in the taxi industry. Driver associations are advocating for a modernization of these regulations to better reflect the current landscape and make entry into the profession more accessible.

Various stakeholders, including driver organisations representing diverse linguistic and cultural communities such as the Indian populations, are urging policymakers to address the shortage by revising existing laws and providing greater opportunities for individuals to enter the industry. They argue that relaxing regulations, particularly in rural areas, could alleviate the shortage and improve service availability, especially during peak hours and weekends.

The Taxi for Ireland Coalition, comprising entities such as Uber, Bolt, the Restaurants Association of Ireland, the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC), the Vintners Federation of Ireland, and the Licenced Vintners Association, has called upon legislators to take decisive action to address the taxi driver shortage. Their recent visit to Leinster House underscores the urgency of the situation and the need for comprehensive reform to ensure the sustainability of Ireland’s taxi sector.

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