The number of valid taxi driver and vehicle licences have been steadily declining in Ireland, but are now starting to increase, according to the latest information from the National Transport Authority (NTA).
Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV) licences are up for the first time in ten years and SPSV driver licences are up for the first time since 2010, according to the latest statistics from the NTA.
Since 2008, SPSV licences have been steadily declining each year, with 27,429 overall SPSV licences a decade ago. This figure had dropped to 20,581 by last year. According to the statistics published by the NTA in September, the number has risen very slightly to 20,621.
Since 2010, SPSV driver licences have decreased every year up until this year. In 2010, there were 42,605 active SPSV driver licences and this number had dropped to 26,012 by last year. As of September this year, active driver licences have increased to 26,255.
Dublin Taxi Drivers, a Facebook page for taxi news, lost property and traffic reports, said: “Insurance is too expensive. To make a good wage drivers have to work unsociable hours and the job itself is dangerous.”
At the start of the year, the NTA launched a campaign to recruit an additional 1,600 taxi drivers. The Authority wish to attract drivers into the industry and provide positive taxi experiences to the travelling public.
The NTA CEO Anne Graham said: “There are about 26,000 drivers licenced to drive a Small Public Service Vehicle in Ireland.
“That might sound like a lot, but they are not all available all of the time, which means there can be shortages at certain periods particularly at peak hours and weekend nights.”
Mytaxi Ireland now has over 11,000 drivers in its fleet, which is more than every other taxi company in the country combined.
Aidan O’Connor from mytaxi Ireland said: “1,744 new drivers have joined the mytaxi taxi fleet so far this year in response to the various incentives and bonuses we have been offering. We are also offering €1 million in incentives to the first 500 drivers who pass the National Transport Authority’s (NTA) SPSV (small public service vehicle) test using mytaxi’s manual training platform, with 320 already passing in this way. The platform is a free online learning tool that helps potential drivers pass the NTA’s challenging SPSV entry test and enter the taxi industry.”
Aidan said that mytaxi has more drivers than ever before and that they are always looking to recruit. While the NTA has found that between 2008 and 2017 the total number of SPSVs, in particular taxis, declined by 24%, mytaxi has been expanding its fleet and trying to incentivise new entrants into the industry. Aidan said: “We are making progress in this respect with the 1,744 new drivers that have joined our fleet so far this year. The NTA has also recognised that the SPSV test was excessively complex and last year reduced the required passing grade from 80% to 75%. This was a welcome change and we’re now starting to see an improvement in the number of drivers entering the industry.”
Aidan said driver recruitment will remain a top priority for mytaxi going forward as part of the drive to meet surging customer demand.