Taxi drivers say transport authorities put them at risk

Representatives claim release of home addresses leaves them open to violent attacks

Under Section 38 of the Taxi Regulation Act, the National Transport Authority provided information in the register of licences for small public service vehicles (SPSVs) to be made publicly available. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Under Section 38 of the Taxi Regulation Act, the National Transport Authority provided information in the register of licences for small public service vehicles (SPSVs) to be made publicly available. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Tue, Aug 5, 2014, 19:57

Taxi drivers have accused transport authorities of putting them and their families at risk of assault, following confirmation that names and home addresses of taxi drivers are available to the public, on payment of a €25 fee.

Drivers who last week called for stricter sentencing for assailants following a series of violent attacks said there was “no valid reason in the world” to reveal their home addresses.

Taxi representatives pointed out that in July a driver who took two people to Ranelagh had a bottle smashed over his head before being punched, kicked and bitten. Also last month, a driver hailed by two men on O’Connell Street was asked to drive to Parnell Street where a knife was held to his throat while a shop was being robbed. He was then dumped from the car, which was later found burnt out.

In the wake of such attacks, Dublin taxi driver Eamonn Murdock has described as “dangerous” the easy availability to the home addresses of drivers and taxi owners.

He said all that was required to obtain the address was the name or licence number of the driver, or the taxi roof sign number or even the car registration, and a fee of €25. “The information will then be posted anywhere in the world”, he said.

Mr Murdock said the Garda regularly called for assistance from taxi drivers who might have witnessed a crime or incident. “Knowing that one’s family address is for sale does not encourage cooperation,” he said.

The Department of Transport confirmed that under Section 38 of the Taxi Regulation Act, the National Transport Authority provided information in the register of licences for small public service vehicles (SPSVs) to be made publicly available.

“Details of individual entries in the register, including name and address details of an individual licence holder shall be provided to a requester upon payment of the relevant fee, which is €25,” the department said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner said it had no role in protecting information in cases where the law specifically allowed for that information to be shared.