Where have taxis in Co Cavan gone to?

According to recent figures, urban and rural areas in the Border Region are negatively impacted by taxi shortages.

Cavan is one of 23 counties with less taxi licences when compared to those of pre-Covid levels. Taxi numbers in Cavan have declined by over 14%, according to new figures from the National Transport Authority (NTA). It says these latest figures highlight “stark regional disparities” with regard to accessing essential transport.

In Monaghan there has been a 26.5% decrease in licences; 17.8% in Co Meath; 18.4% in Co Leitrim; and 19.4% in Co Longford. According to the figures, both urban and rural areas in the Border Region have been heavily impacted by taxi shortages with licences dropping by almost 19% in the same period.

This has led to criticism of current SPSV policy by various stakeholders, particularly in hospitality and tourism. “The significant decrease in taxi availability is a crippling blow to rural Ireland’s hospitality sector,” Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said. “These businesses often rely on taxis to get customers home safely, especially after dark.

“With little to no public transport links in rural areas and without a vital taxi service, many people simply won't go out, further squeezing already strained rural businesses. The Government needs to take immediate action to address this issue before it cripples the entire industry entirely.”

Meanwhile, the decline in taxi numbers is attributed to a number of factors, including the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, an onerous entry system and costly barriers for new drivers including outlays of up to €59,000 for a vehicle alone.

The Taxis for Ireland Coalition is calling on the NTA and the Government to take immediate action to address the shortage of taxis. They propose a 30% increase in taxi vehicles by 2027 as a step towards alleviating the impact of driver and vehicle number decrease over the past decade, coupled with Ireland's population growth.

“A reliable and accessible taxi network is essential for a thriving hospitality industry and local economies,” added Kieran Harte, General Manager of Uber Ireland. “Taxis provide a safe and familiar option for visitors to Ireland and serve an invaluable service to people in rural and urban areas alike. We urge the Government and NTA to acknowledge the issue and take concrete steps to improve the supply of licensed, regulated taxi drivers and vehicles.”