Airport taxi strike in dispute over spaces to continue today
PASSENGERS at Dublin airport will continue to face disruption today as a strike by taxi drivers there enters its second day.
The strike which began yesterday has forced passengers arriving at the airport to rely on public transport and private cars for their onward journeys. August is one of the busiest months at the airport.
The row involves 70 taxi spaces in a holding area of the airport that have been taken back by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).
Airport officials said they regretted the inconvenience to customers resulting from the “unilateral” action and appealed to taxi drivers to resume carrying passengers as soon as possible.
John Usher, president of the Irish Taxi Federation, said DAA staff had moved in overnight to take the spaces. He said drivers were left with no option but to pull services when they were given parking tickets by gardaí after being forced to stop on the main road.
“They told us they were looking for spaces and we thought we were in negotiations,” said Mr Usher. “We were waiting for a meeting to be held on Friday morning when they came in and took these spaces.”
Mr Usher said it was unfortunate passengers were affected. “We do not want to strike,” he said. “But we feel the DAA created this problem and we feel they should solve it.”
The DAA said taxi representatives had been informed of the move by letter a month ago. It said its executives met a number of taxi representatives yesterday afternoon and had believed services would be resumed. “Regrettably, this has not happened and taxi drivers are still refusing to pick up fares at the airport,” it added.
The DAA said it created the temporary overflow area for taxi drivers in 2010 before the opening of Terminal 2 (T2), which can accommodate 170 vehicles. It told drivers a month ago it needed between 60 and 70 of those spaces back and claims almost 60 extra spaces were created when the T2 rank opened.
“The amendment to taxi space provision at the airport will mean that taxi drivers will have exactly the same number of spaces this year as they had in 2010, despite the number of airport taxi permit holders declining by more than 300 during the same period,” the DAA said.
A DAA spokesman said that at a meeting yesterday, 30 spaces had been returned to taxi drivers as a gesture of goodwill. He said while taxi drivers then agreed to resume service, they did not do so.
An airport source said although taxi drivers claimed there was not enough capacity at the terminals, there are “a number of spaces in the ranks in front of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 that taxi drivers for their own reasons are refusing to use”. It is thought they dont use them due to concerns it may interfere with who gets the next available fare.
Jerry Brennan, general secretary of the National Irish Taxi Association said drivers would continue their protest today. In addition to refusing to pick up arriving passengers, drivers would protest at the roundabout on the way into the airport from 6am.