Dublin is at risk of entering another taxi shortage due to dramatic increases in insurance premiums over the last three years according to a City Councillor.
Fianna Fáil Cllr., Paul McAuliffe, said while raised insurance costs are affecting all drivers, taxi drivers are being “impacted very severely” due to limited competition in the insurance sector and new drivers being unable to afford to enter the market.
Drivers trying to enter the industry have found it “nearly impossible to even get a quote”, said Mick Gaynor, a representative of the Dublin-based taxi service Lyft.
Gaynor said drivers who are in the industry already have seen increases on average from 80 per cent to 110 per cent in their insurance premiums.
“We have an issue at the moment with a shortage of taxis and the rising price of car insurance just makes it more difficult for newbies to enter the industry.
“This has a knock on effect for us as new drivers looking to join Lynk [a taxi app] are hit with this barrier. I’ve heard some drivers be quoted over €10,000,” said Gaynor
McAuliffe said he has been contacted by five or six taxi drivers in the last month in relation to insurance premiums being unaffordable as well as two complaints in the last week from drivers who cannot get an insurance quote at all.
He added that evidence from other cities that have difficulties with people getting home at night suggests a taxi shortage in Dublin could lead to more crime exposure.
Students would be one of the groups affected by a taxi shortage because they often rely on taxis to bring them in and out of town on a night out.
“The possibility that if we do drive taxi drivers out of the business, it’s going to result in students being more vulnerable on the streets at night,” said McAuliffe.
McAuliffe said at the moment, “the government is not taking this issue seriously and we need the government as a whole to be dealing with the issue around insurance.”
Gaynor said action should be taken by the insurance companies themselves, mentioning that the 3.2 per cent meter increase in February should slightly help with covering the costs, but insurers should be taking more action to keep taxis on the road.