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Taxi deregulation

  • 16-05-2023 4:44pm
    Registered Users Posts: 373 ✭✭

    I was in a taxi in Dublin City centre last night and the only thing the driver seemed to want to discuss was the deregulation. He said that it was an absolute disgrace and that the industry was completely destroyed and hasn’t recovered to this day. He also said that it’s should be reversed if the government had any sense, it was a betrayal of the drivers who paid 80k for a plate and the government has a duty to make things right.

    What is the consensus on this? Will deregulation ever be reversed?



  • Registered Users Posts: 237 ✭✭DAngelo Bailey

    Not a chance sure there's a shortage of drivers a it is no way they'll go back the old system.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Lol, no chance

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,162 ✭✭✭Citrus_8

    These taxi drivers are only after their own interests... Rarely they are educated enough to have an interesting and worth attention conversation. They can get aggressive if you express a different opinion of theirs.

    Post edited by Citrus_8 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 68,505 ✭✭✭✭L1011

    Any idea of drivers being compensated ended when FG - who promised it under Noonan - didn't get in in 2002. It will never, ever be proposed again.

    Trying to sue the licence issuers was thrown out of court.

    Yer man has presumably been whining about that to anyone that will listen for over two decades.

  • Registered Users Posts: 373 ✭✭dublincc2

    He said that the deregulation meant that the city now has far too many taxis per capita and also that taking a taxi became more dangerous especially for women as deregulation allowed all the foreign rapists to get a plate. His words not mine. He also went on a rant about Freenow and how they were a rip-off scheme with 10% going to them. He said all the old school White Irish drivers agree with him.

    He said that he voted for SF last time but would vote for any party that pledges to undo deregulation. I don’t think this is realistic at all. Are Dublin taxi drivers really all like this or was he just an oddball?

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  • Subscribers Posts: 41,412 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    Ah a good old racist taxi driver....

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,399 ✭✭✭✭coylemj

    He said all the old school White Irish drivers agree with him.

    And they probably do - that's the most factual thing he said to you.

    He's probably living in hope that, some day, Ivor Callely will make it back to the Dáil. Because when he was a TD, he shamelessly defended the most anti-consumer system imaginable. What was effectively a closed shop where there was never more than a trickle of new licences issued every year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 43,028 ✭✭✭✭SEPT 23 1989

    Yeah it was great having to walk past Heuston station to try and get home out of town on a Saturday night

  • Registered Users Posts: 82,068 ✭✭✭✭Atlantic Dawn

    Within 10 years his career will likely be gone with the introduction of automated driverless taxis owned by large corporations.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,959 ✭✭✭downtheroad

    He sounds like a stellar member of society.

    The sooner Uber and Lyft are allowed to operate in Ireland the way they do in countless countries around the world the better.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,969 ✭✭✭✭Del2005

    The head of the large corporations job, white collar work is easily replaced with automation and AI, will be long gone before autonomous vehicles are driving around European cities, Irish cities will be even later with our traffic laws. Autonomous vehicles already work on motorways and dual carriage ways but they'll never work in cities without a major change in the law, it will require penalising pedestrians!, and that's not going to happen in any European city.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,644 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    He is talking a load of nonsense.

    Deregulation was brilliant for taxi users, prior to that, using a Taxi was a complete nightmare. Having to wait three hours at a taxi rank at night was pretty normal back then.

    The problem was there were only a limited number of taxi licenses and there were far too few of them. Taxi drivers started selling and buying taxi licenses for as much as a house back then, like €100,000+ They were looking at it like a long term investment, they thought they would get rich off it and could sell their license when they retired.

    Of course that couldn't continue, there were nowhere near enough taxi's for the city. The government wanted to gradually increase the number of taxi licenses over time, but the existing taxi drivers refused, so the government said fine and just completely deregulated it. Which was brilliant for most people as it became much easier to get a taxi.

    Of course those old drivers hated it as their 100k+ investment was wiped out overnight. But frankly though, something like this should never have been held up like this, a city needs to have various services for the public and taxi's is one and it shouldn't ever have left to become a get rich quick scheme.

    Ironically today, while nowhere as bad, we actually have a shortage of taxi drivers again. So the NTA needs to attract people into taxi driving, not limit access.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,786 ✭✭✭DownByTheGarden

    I remember going to a school reunion just before the taxis were deregulated.

    One of the guys from our class was telling us he had just got a taxi plate (he had to get a loan from the credit union and another from his dad for it. I cant remember how much but they were really expensive) and was telling us all that it is effectively a pension it is worth so much. His Dad was a taxi driver and had one too.

    They both had a "cosy" I think he called it driving the taxi at night and paying them something like 400 per week each I think it was. And then their own day earnings on top of that. I remember thinking to myself that I am in the wrong business.

    Havent seen him since. But that probably didnt work out so good in the end. It was only about 6 months later that deregulation happened.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,223 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    He said all the old school White Irish drivers agree with him.

    (mythbusters voice) well, there's your problem (/mythbusters voice)

    taxi drivers who were in a cartel want compensation for the breakup of that cartel. quelle surprise.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,595 ✭✭✭monkeybutter

    a cartel of 100s of independent businesses heavily regulated by de government is it?

    I mean they have a right to be pissed off, government interference caused this issue, where you had to buy in to get a licence

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,644 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    Hold on a second, it was the taxi drivers themsleves who created the cartel!

    The cost of the license from the regulator was only a few thousand (I can't remember exactly, but less then 5,000). The issue was that there were only a limited number of licenses, with no new licenses being issued, so if you wanted to become a taxi driver, you had to buy it from an existing taxi driver, who were charging 100k to sell their license.

    The government/regulator wanted to gradually issue new licenses every year to try and resolve the issue, but the existing taxi drivers refused this, they wanted to keep their cartel going. Thus deregulation was done instead.

    The licenses were never worth the inflated prices some were paying, they were only worth the few thousand it cost to get one from the regulator.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,595 ✭✭✭monkeybutter


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,644 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    "if it was just lads who had the original licenses at 5k who had them, then feck them, but you had 25 years of this cycling of licences behind it which is the issue"

    No, it is the other way round. Fair enough to those who got their license direct from the regulator. For those who were buying their license at an inflated cost from other taxi drivers, well tough, they took a gamble, buying a license at an inflated cost with no guarantee at all that the regulator wouldn't issue more licenses, etc.

    The regulators owned them nothing.

    It is the regulators job to ensure there are enough taxi's to match demand (and that they are safe, etc.), it certainly isn't their job for taxi drivers to be making money off their licences (beyond the usual fares).

    BTW It wasn't just small individual drivers, there was a whole industry of big taxi companies who were buying up licenses at inflated costs and then renting out cars and licenses to drivers who couldn't get a license.

    The whole thing was a crazy, an artificial market, it needed to be fixed and a good service delivered to the public and it was.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,644 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    Here is a paper on the history of the Dublin Taxi market and deregulation:

    Very true comment:

    "These licences were only just pieces of paper and there was no reason for them to be worth such large sums."

    The mistake that the regulators made was actually listening too much to the taxi drivers and trying too hard to please them, rather then just issuing an adequate number of license. The Taxi drivers constantly tried to stop them issuing enough licenses, many of us will remember constant strikes and protests by drivers against the regulators.

    The government in 2000 wanted to introduce 3,000 extra licenses to match demand and in order to support the existing taxi drivers, they were going to give most of them to the existing taxi drivers! The taxi lobby opposed this.

    They also opposed a scheme that would allow taxi drivers to write off any loss in value of their license against their tax liability, an incredibly generous scheme, but again it was opposed by the taxi lobby.

    In the end, it was ironically brought to a head by a High Court case brought by Hackney Drivers against the regulators. The High Court found that the regulator couldn't actually restrict the number of licenses and thus we ended up with deregulation of the market.

    High court cases brought on behalf of the taxi drivers after this, found against them and basically that money lost by drivers on the secondary market was not the responsibility of the government:

    "The judge said in his view they were also not in a position to bring a claim for breach of statutory duty by the defendants. Although the Regulations had led to a loss of money, the judge found that the plaintiffs had entered the market voluntarily, in the knowledge, to be implied to them if necessary, that the regulatory regime could change and that there was a risk that their licences would not hold their value."

    "However, the court found that the Councils owed no particular duty of care to protect the interests of the taxi owners: “The Minister’s duty was to regulate in the interest of the general public in relation to a necessary public service. By delegating power to local authorities to decide on the appropriate number of licenses, he was not creating any obligation upon those authorities to act other than in the same public interest.”

  • Registered Users Posts: 766 ✭✭✭Mr.Frame

    It was never a taxi issue, it was a public transportation problem.Pre dereg., Dublin had more taxis per capita than London.

    Until recently Dublin had more taxis than New York.

    So people are complaining about shortage of taxis and yet here we are over 20 yrs since dereg and we still don’t have a 24hr bus train or Luas service.

    It is STILL a public transportation problem.

    But let’s blame the shortage of taxis!!!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,278 ✭✭✭markpb

    But we do have some 24h bus services!

    Arguably, deregulation reduced the demand for night buses for a long time because it was so easy and reliable to get a taxi but the recent drop in taxi numbers has made it important again.

    Night Services

    10 bus routes now run throughout the night, 7 days per week:

    • 15 From Clongriffin Towards Ballycullen Rd
    • 39a From UCD Belfield Towards Ongar
    • 41 From Lower Abbey St. Towards Swords Manor
    • C1 From Adamstown Station Towards Sandymount
    • C2 From Adamstown Station Towards Sandymount
    • C5 From Maynooth Towards Ringsend Road
    • C6 From Maynooth Towards Ringsend Road
    • G1 From Spencer Dock Towards Red Cow Luas
    • G2 From Spencer Dock Towards Liffey Valley Shopping Centre
    • N4 From Point Village Towards Blanchardstown Shopping Centre

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,644 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    "It was never a taxi issue, it was a public transportation problem.Pre dereg., Dublin had more taxis per capita than London.

    Until recently Dublin had more taxis than New York."

    Note, this is complete bullshit!

    London has 95,000 Private Hire Vehicles, versus 20,000 in Dublin!

    It is just that most are minicabs, rather then traditional black cabs. We use to have a similar split between taxis and hackneys, but with deregulation most of the hackney drivers became taxis here. So it is a dishonest comparison, better to compare the total number of PHV's

    Same with New York, there are over 140,000 for hire vehicles in New York!

    The dishonest comparison is made only to the Yellow cabs, but not the other licensed vehicles that operate in New York, including green cabs and black town car services.

    Yellow can pick up people who hail them on the street in Manhatten and all other areas of NYC.

    Green taxi's can drop off in Manhatten, but not pick up from the street in Manhatten, they however can pick up in the rest of NYC.

    Black car services can't pick up from the street, you can only order them for pick up.

    Basically anyone who lives in Manhatten, mostly used the Black car services (pre Uber) and never used the Yellow taxi's as they were far more expensive, they were mostly only used by tourists who didn't know better.

    This was always a dishonest comparison.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,896 ✭✭✭✭Spook_ie

    Unlikely to be reversed that Genie escaped the bottle a long time ago, but it probably needs some tweaking and I don't mean by letting another Genie out by allowing Lyft and Uber to operate like they do in other countries (as suggested by other posters ).

    It needs to be made easier for people to enter the taxi market but not that easy that it becomes a pin money go to for anyone fancying a few bob on the side.

    Where to draw the line though? You want a functioning taxi service you have to allow taxi drivers to be able to make a living from it, without them having to work excessive hours and basicly sleeping in their cars. So do you

    a) limit the total amount of taxis?


    b) do you make it a reasonably hard exercise for people to get the relevent license to drive?

    Once you've decided on that you then need to decide on what incentives you offer to taxi drivers to get them to work the city shifts (Dublin/Cork night time) I know as it stands I WILL NOT work Dublin city other than taking customers in and hopefully persuading them to exit the taxi away from any major groups of people looking for taxis and will gladly drive away from the city empty rather than risk some of the shite you get off the street.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 26,220 Mod ✭✭✭✭Podge_irl

    Doesn't that make the "per capita" comment correct?

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,644 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    "Doesn't that make the "per capita" comment correct?"

    Kind of hard to compare as for instance New York also has Uber and Lyft and then you have to look at extensive night bus and trains services that NY and London have and which are only on their infancy here. You then get into the complication of the relatively low cost of a license here and how many vehicles are actually active every day. For instance given the very high cost of a Yellow taxi license in NY, they operate pretty much 24/7 (they rent the vehicle and license out to other drivers), while here there are drivers who might only operate part time, at the weekend, etc.

    The bottom line though is that currently there aren't enough taxi's in Dublin to meet demand and there certainly wasn't back in the pre-deregulation days.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,896 ✭✭✭✭Spook_ie

    But pre deregulation the taxis in Dublin were on the road with an owner and 1 or 2 "cosies" so did deregulation actually cause some of it's own problems?

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 26,220 Mod ✭✭✭✭Podge_irl

    I doubt you'd find anyone who got used to walking home at night to agree with that. I lived 5km from town and I'd say more often than not before deregulation I walked the whole way home.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,644 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    "But pre deregulation the taxis in Dublin were on the road with an owner and 1 or 2 "cosies" so did deregulation actually cause some of it's own problems?"

    No, it just meant those folks who were previously renting, became fully licensed taxi drivers themselves. Much fairer all round, that old system of such rent seeking license owners is quiet an ugly business. I'm sure you are aware that it started to lead to big companies buying up lots of licenses and renting, while never driving at all themselves.

    I'm surprised you would support the "cosy" system as it is basically the same as Uber in the US. Non licensed people driving "taxis", just like you have with Uber and all the same concerns you have with safety, etc. If we are doing that, we might as well open up fully to US style Uber, much the same thing!

    Anyway, there are already companies that will rent you a taxi on a monthly basis, you just need to have a SPSV.

    "Why has the drop in Taxis occured? is it just thar people left the industry during xovid and didnt return?"

    Yes, mostly and just the general issue many industries are facing of record high levels of unemployment and not enough people to fill the jobs. Of course add to that the increasing costs of insurance and cars and it makes it more expensive for people to get into the business.

    "we are saying there are circa 20k Taxis in County Dublin now?"

    I think it is around 10,000 actual Taxi's in Dublin, 20,000 is the whole country (my bad). Also apparently only 29% of those drive of weekend nights.

  • Registered Users Posts: 34,545 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    Lots of overheads when you have to pay the taxi owner and the plate owner as well, but people still did it because unemployment was through the roof (and cough it was possible that some lads on the scratcher were not averse to a cash income...)

    There are a lot of easier and more attractive ways of making a living nowadays. Just another problem created by full employment, nobody wants to do the jobs which have unattractive conditions or unsocial hours.

    Fingal County Council are certainly not competent to be making decisions about the most important piece of infrastructure on the island. They need to stick to badly designed cycle lanes and deciding on whether Mrs Murphy can have her kitchen extension.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,896 ✭✭✭✭Spook_ie

    You obviously never thought to either go to one of the Hackney offices or didn't realise the significance of ping pong balls on car aerials.