Maurice Cummins

Maurice Cummins

“The number of Taxi Licences issued in recent years has reached saturation point and there is an urgent need for a moratorium of a few years to let the market settle.”

So says Waterford Fine Gael Senator Maurice Cummins who told the Seanad that the lack of taxi ranks and spaces in every town and city throughout the country means drivers are being forced to work ever-longer hours to earn a reasonable living for themselves and their families.

In his opinion drivers working longer hours is “unacceptable and unsafe” and he wants an urgent debate on what he called the flawed report from the Taxi Regulator as a matter of urgency.

Waterford taxi drivers took to the streets again last Monday week to highlight the situation in the city. Chairman of the Waterford Taxi Association Noel McLawrence says many of his members are working 60-70 hours a week.

Wexford has more ‘cabs’

The recently-published ‘Economic Review of the Small Public Service Vehicle Industry’, commissioned by the Regulator from Goodbody Economic Consultants, shows that Waterford has far fewer ‘SPSVs’ per head of population than the other major cities.

In terms of the ‘number of cabs by county’ in 2008, Waterford had 398, compared to 930 in Limerick for example and 1,231 in Galway. Cork had 2,382 and Dublin 13,244. Also, Wexford had 426 (albeit mostly hackneys – 230) and Tipperary had 394, 319 of which were hackneys.

Furious with the Goodbody report’s defence of deregulation and the Government’s failure to cap licences, the WTA is urging people to vote for representatives of the Workers’ Party, Sinn Fein and Independent City Councillor, John Halligan.