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Dublin taxi service still 'poor' 
Irish times 19-June-2001 By Joe Humphreys 

Dublin's taxi service remains "remarkably poor" at weekend peak-time periods despite deregulation of the industry, a report commissioned by the National Taxi Drivers Union has found.

The survey, conducted by the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies at Trinity College Dublin, estimated average waiting times at College Green of 55 minutes between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Sundays and 91 minutes between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.

It said service in daytime was "reasonably good, if uneven", with average waiting times at Abbey Street ranging from 42 minutes between 9 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. to five to six minutes between 6 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. Less than 11 per cent of the 1,674 taxis surveyed were found to be wheelchair accessible. This, the report said, gave rise to an "irregular and unreliable" service where "at some ranks, wheelchair users may have to wait for over 45 minutes for an accessible taxi at a time when other passengers are served in 11 minutes on average".

The survey, conducted in April, five months after deregulation, also cited difficulties in making telephone bookings during rush hour on Fridays and midweek. Southside companies generally could not provide a taxi at these times, while on the northside waiting times were estimated at between 20 and 45 minutes.

Mr Vincent Kearns, vice-president of the NTDU, said the study highlighted the need to set up a taxi board to cover all areas of the industry, including policing and licensing. The current fares system contained no financial incentive for drivers to work at night, he said. The number of taxi plates in the city had risen from 2,724 before deregulation to 6,528, without significant improvement in the service.

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