Publican denounces ‘crazy’ laws limiting taxi licenses

Cavan Publican Seamus Farrelly says taxi licensing rules need to be reviewed.

COUNT Cavan has 108 registered taxis

Cavan has the fifth lowest taxi count in the country, according to a report by the National Transport Authority (NTA).

Breffni County has 108 of the 19,111 registered taxis in the country, or 5.7% of the total. The only counties with fewer taxis than Cavan are neighboring counties Leitrim (49), Monaghan (64), Longford (71) and Roscommon (102).

Publican Seamus Farrelly once owned a taxi business in Cavan Town and believes the shortage of taxis to hire is a huge problem in the county that needs to be addressed.

“You can’t take a taxi during the week because some drivers don’t work during the week and other companies close at half past eleven.

“I’m stuck on my own bringing clients home [from the pub]. They can’t take taxis at night. And those [taxi drivers] who work are busy with their own customers. I have to drive most people home Monday through Thursday. It’s a catch 22.”

The annual cost of running a single taxi for an experienced driver ranges from €14,500 to €23,515, depending on the vehicle you choose, according to the NTA report.

For an inexperienced driver, these figures range from €19,544 to €26,015 per year. These costs exclude the purchase of the vehicle itself.

If a driver used his taxi 365 days a year, a minimum of €40 per day would be spent on these expenses.

The average taxi driver in Ireland earns €411 per week, which equates to €59 per day, which is only a profit of €19.

Reporting on the scarcity of taxis in the county, Mr Farrelly said: “I think it’s a matter of cost. You cannot acquire a taxi license now, you must rent one. You would pay up to €250 per week for this car, plus insurance. This is the problem.

The owner of the Fifth Avenue Bar in Cavan Town believes the government needs to review regulations in this area.

“I think if the government relaxed the laws on people buying taxis, where people who have taxis can sell their plates and let people into the industry, you might be better off. Any man who wants to get into the business right now won’t be able to do so unless he hires or buys a £50,000 wheelchair accessible vehicle. That’s the main problem that keeps people from getting into it,” he surmised.

‘Mad’

“This is an absolutely stupid law. They should let everyone who wants to work in the industry buy a car and pay for the license and go. I don’t know why they do this, it’s crazy. I know people who left the industry and dropped their license because they couldn’t find anyone to drive them.

Seamus closed his taxi business in 2015 to try his luck as a pub owner, opening the Fifth Avenue Bar in Cavan Town. Before that, his business was booming.

Change culture

“It was very busy, absolutely. At that time, it was very crowded day and night, but now there are a lot of factors that make it not busy. The whole drinking culture is in changing.

“Since covid you see more and more people drinking at home in home bars and stuff like that. But I think in Cavan the local bond has been a blow to the coffee industry taxi. What drivers are discovering now is that it’s not viable to go out during the week,” Seamus suggested.

“I know from my time at the bus station there you could get Radisson fares, hospital fares, Tesco fares and Dunnes fares, and all of them are gone now because of the local link,” he said. he continued.

It’s not just Cavan who has seen the number of taxis drop. The taxi industry nationally has shrunk 26% over the past 17 years, from 25,695 to 19,111.

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