DUBLIN taxi drivers have been “shunted to one side” by Dublin City Council over traffic restriction plans, unions have claimed.
Traffic restrictions coupled with the closure of a number of taxi ranks to allow work on the Luas Cross City line will come into force in the coming days.
Several footpaths will also be closed in order to move water, electricity and gas piping.
The tram route will run from St Stephen's Green to Cabra, and will connect with the |existing Green and Red lines.
But Gerry Brennan from SIPTU's Dublin Taxi Drivers' Branch said its members have been “shunted to one side” by the council.
''Drivers are afterthought in the overall plans,” he added.
“The level of dissatisfaction among the drivers in quite high. The ranks have been moved from prominent positions to side streets, and individual car spaces have been lost.
“This is at a time when there is already insufficient room for the number of taxi licenses that were issued.
“The presence of taxis on O'Connell Street will be greatly diminished – drivers are definitely losing out to the Luas project.”
A total of six sites, from the Green to Parnell Street, have been designated for work to begin in a matter of days.
The number of traffic lanes |in use will be reduced on five |of the work sites, but there |will be no closures.
The areas affected include |St Stephen's Green North, Lower Grafton Street, Westmoreland Street, Hawkins Street and Parnell Street.
However, access to nearby businesses will be safeguarded and alternative pedestrian access will be provided where footpaths are closed.
On the sixth site near the O'Connell Street Spire, the |road will be closed only at night and over the weekends so as |to keep public inconvenience to a bare minimum.
But a number of major changes will take place in the location of taxi ranks in the overall city centre area.
Ranks will be closed at O'Connell Bridge, Marlborough Place and Westmoreland Street.
The location of alternative sites has yet to be decided, |but efforts will be made to accommodate the taxis locally depending on the progress of the construction work.