Taxi numbers in Mayo have declined by over 18% since before the pandemic, according to new figures from the National Transport Authority (NTA), highlighting stark regional disparities in access to essential transport.

The figures were revealed in response to a recent parliamentary question by Independent TD Carol Nolan.

The West has been heavily impacted by taxi shortages in recent years, with Taxi numbers down 19 percent in Roscommon, 10 percent in Sligo and 5 percent in Galway over the same period.

Taxi numbers have dropped in most parts of the country, with Taxi licence numbers falling in 23 of 26 counties in the past five years.

Monaghan saw the most significant drop, with 26 per cent fewer taxis in the county since 2019.

The Taxis for Ireland Coalition, wants action from the National Transport Authority to increase licence numbers by 30 per cent in the next three years.

Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland says the significant decrease in taxi availability is a crippling blow to rural Ireland’s hospitality sector. “These businesses often rely on taxis to get customers home safely, especially after dark. With little to no public transport links in rural areas and without a vital taxi service, many people simply won't go out, further squeezing already strained rural businesses. The Government needs to take immediate action to address this issue before it cripples the entire industry entirely.”

The decline in taxi numbers is attributed to a number of factors, including the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, an onerous entry system, and costly barriers for new drivers – such as outlays of up to €59,000 for a vehicle alone.

 

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