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'Raise fares to improve taxi service' 
Irish Independent 8-11-2001 -  Treacy Hogan Environment Correspondent

TAXI deregulation has not provided Dublin with the service it needs, according to an expert report.

The report calls for fare hikes to encourage more drivers on to the streets during peak times. Major shortages have been identified after midnight when young people are coming home from clubs and pubs, and during the morning and evening rush hours. The problem is certain to worsen over Christmas.

The report by Goodbody economic consultants for the four Dublin local authorities also says businesses are finding it more difficult to get cabs. It proposes a huge increase in prices - from 9 to 14 an hour - and an increased mileage charge at night on Sundays and public holidays, ranging from 16pc to 26pc. Many taxi drivers are not supplying services during these times because of the effect of traffic congestion on their earnings, the report says.

The report urges a halt to the practice of taxi drivers working excessively long hours to make a living wage. It says this has serious safety implications, and backs fare increases to provide a better income for drivers.

The report says supply is deficient at times of the day when roads are particularly congested - 8am-10am and 4pm-6pm, and after midnight when there is considerable demand - and for trips to the north of the city around the Fingal area, which involve long journeys with little hope of a return fare.

In a separate development, it was claimed yesterday that taxi families who paid up to 80,000 for their plates before deregulation made them available for just 5,000 are facing financial ruin and may lose their homes.



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