The minister is more interested in “magic bikes in D4” than in the problem of taxis
A West Cork councilor says the nightlife economy and tourism industry could get a major boost if taxi app Uber is finally allowed to operate in Ireland.
At this week’s local authority meeting, Cllr Sean O’Donovan (FF) raised the issue of the lack of taxi and hackney services throughout the county at night and called on Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to allow Uber to operate in Ireland.
“Social interaction is the lifeblood of our people’s existence, but now people are choosing not to visit the local pub or go out for a meal because they simply have no way of getting home. them, because the majority of taxi drivers choose not to work at night,” Councilor O’Donovan said.
“People not being able to return home from Bandon over the weekend has led to pub closures and loss of jobs in the hospitality industry,” he claimed.
Cllr O’Donovan gave several examples of his constituents who have stopped going out because they are unable to find a taxi to take them home.
“We need to introduce Uber urgently before it’s too late, before inaction kills our night economy and before our tourism industry goes adrift,” he added.
He pointed to the irony that Uber employs 400 people in Limerick at its center of excellence but is not yet licensed to operate its service in Ireland.
“Uber drivers solve transportation problems in 72 countries and 10,500 cities,” he said.
“Minister Ryan seems to be more concerned about the magic bikes above in Dublin 4. We’re not getting anywhere unless he lets Uber operate in Ireland,” he added.
County Mayor Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said he was recently in America and saw how Uber operates there.
He said it was the only way forward, while Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said the situation ‘has become diabolical’ regarding taxis in rural Ireland and said the process of asking to even get a hackney license was also too strict and discouraged people.
“It’s crippling tourism from Bantry to Clonakilty and especially for those staying in Airbnbs outside of towns who have no way of getting home as there are no taxis at all,” said Clr Carroll.
Cllr Caroline Cronin (FG) highlighted a recent exclusive story in The southern star which revealed that gardaí were targeting illegal taxi operators in West Cork.
“It shows that there is a demand for taxis and hackneys from the public and Uber would definitely be a solution. This needs to be expedited,” Cllr Cronin said.