Taxis At Christmas

 

Sir, - This time of year is an extremely demanding one for taxi drivers and I would appreciate a little more understanding from the media. I appreciate that, as providers of a public service, we are open to criticism, but please let it be just criticism. There are 1,974 taxis presently working in Dublin city, mostly two-man cars, employing 3,500 drivers. There are 200 more licences coming out which will employ another 400 drivers. It is totally unreasonable to cast the blame on taxi drivers for the problems the general public have getting home on weekends. We are not the national carriers but only a complementary service.

Once we approach Christmas it becomes open season on taxi drivers. Could you please highlight to the public the inadequacies in our public transport system? On weekends we have the DART, trains, buses, and taxis ferrying people into town, but after midnight the only options are a token gesture from Dublin Bus, running main routes only on an hourly basis from Trinity College and the Westmoreland Street area with no pick-ups en route. No DART, no trains, and no proper bus service.

When the JFK was moored at Dun Laoghaire there was no great problem extending the DART until 1.30 a.m. to facilitate the Americans, yet the same regard is not shown for the needs of the Dubs, the people whose taxes pay for this service. Also, for the past two years we have requested Dublin Bus to begin its Night-Link service at 11.30 p.m. instead of midnight, and to run it from three locations: St Stephen's Green, Trinity College and Parnell Square, the main areas of social activities. All to no avail.

Instead, we still have no service on Christmas Eve night, no service whatsoever on Christmas Day, and no Sunday service. We should not have to request Dublin Bus to do its job, but we all have a part to play.

Please remember that taxis are the only public service vehicles available 365 days a year. - Yours, etc.,

Vice President, National Taxi Drivers Union, Camden Row, Dublin 8.