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Taxi licence numbers fall in 23 of 26 counties since 2019

New figures show that the number of taxi licences in operation has fallen in nearly every county across the country over the past five years.

In 23 of the 26 counties the number of licences is lower today than it was in 2019, with the national total down 3.5%.

The figures show there were 26,360 taxis operating in 2023, a decrease of 1,033 from 27,393 in 2019.

The reduction in taxi licence numbers is most acute in the border region, where there has been a 17% decrease over the time period.

In Monaghan the decrease is even higher at 27%.

While in the Midlands-East region excluding Dublin, there has been a significant reduction of over 17%.

Dublin saw an increase of just under 1%, in Limerick the numbers rose by almost 7% while in Kerry they were more than 3% higher.

The figures came in response to a recent parliamentary question by Independent TD Carol Nolan and support claims from businesses that there is an acute shortage of taxis around the country.

The Taxis for Ireland Coalition, which is made up of a number of companies and organisations representing firms, says the dramatic drop in available taxis raises concerns for the country’s vital hospitality industry and everyday passengers, particularly tourists.

“A reliable and accessible taxi network is essential for a thriving hospitality industry and local economies,” says Kieran Harte, General Manager of Uber Ireland, which is part of the coalition.

“Taxis provide a safe and familiar option for visitors to Ireland and serve an invaluable service to people in rural and urban areas alike. We urge the Government and NTA to acknowledge the issue and take concrete steps to improve the supply of licensed, regulated taxi drivers and vehicles.”

The drop in taxi numbers is being blamed on the fallout from the pandemic, the design of the entry system and the costs involved in entering the sector.

The coalition wants the Government to increase the number of taxi vehicles by 30% by 2027.

It is also calling for the removal of the wheelchair accessible requirements for newly registered taxis and a re-assessment of the entry test’s geography-based knowledge requirements.

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