A garda liaison to follow up on reports of assault, more taxi ranks and a priority traffic system at busy occasions are among proposals that could help with a perceived shortages of transport at peak times, a spokesman for the National Private Hire and Taxi Association has said.
Jim Waldron told Newstalk Breakfast that there were sufficient numbers of taxi drivers but that the issue was that fewer wanted to work at night. He called for a dedicated liaison between gardaí and taxi drivers as one step that could improve trust and safety.
“The system needs to be changed so as to encourage drivers to work more at night time and that could be helped by some of the things that we’ve been calling for many years,” he said. “One of them would be, for example, to have a liaison officer working between the taxi industry and the gardaí so that incidents that do happen can be reported and they can be followed up directly then with some individual rather than to get lost in a black hole, basically.
“I guess we’re at a stage where taxi drivers don’t report incidents and they’re not dealt with.”
Mr Wilton said he welcomed comments by a judge in a recent court case that taxi drivers should feel safe in their workplace.
Another move that would be welcomed would be more taxi ranks, he said. “There are no taxi ranks at night time for people to feel safe to stand at, they’re the taxi ranks that taxi drivers want – we go to them because people standing there are less of a threat to us. That’s a very simple thing that could happen.”
He added that helping taxis get to places where there is high demand could also ease supply problems.
“For public events like concerts there should be a priority system or an infrastructure put in place so that taxis can get in and get out very quickly. So to say there’s a lack of taxis or a shortage of taxis, there isn’t, there’s a shortage of taxis at the concert venue maybe because we can’t get to the concert venue or we’re prevented from going anywhere near some of the major events.”