Sunday, June 04, 2006

Taxi Strike? What Taxi Strike?

I was out in town last night and as expected the taxi strike had little impact. I spoke to the taxi driver who brought us into town a couple of hours before the strike was scheduled to start and he said there would be no strike. He, like many other drivers, was not a member of a union so he was going to continue working. He also pointed out that only one taxi drivers union had called a strike, there are several others and they had told their drivers to keep working. Also the union that had called the strike had downgraded it to a recommended work stoppage. The sole condition he had was that he would not use taxi ranks in case there was any trouble at them but he rarely stopped at ranks on a Saturday anyway.

He did expect the strike to be more serious in places like Cork because there the drivers are loosing money on their fares. Their argument was that they used to make over €5 as their base fare but now that was reduced to just over €3 with a standard national fare. He explained that the Cork drivers argue that they have a smaller pool of customers so they need to charge more but proportionally they have access to as much business as drivers based in Dublin since there are a smaller number of taxis in Cork than in Dublin. In fact, he pointed out, the number of taxis in Dublin is not limited but the regulator is limiting Cork taxis to address just this issue so a Cork driver could still be better off than a Dublin one.

Later that night there were loads of taxis driving around the city center. The interesting thing was that none of them had their roof lights on but they did stop when people hailed them. It was only out in the suburbs that I saw taxis with lights on.

[Update 13 July 2006: There is another taxi strike planned for Monday 17th of July]

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