Wednesday 13 December 2017

Taxi drivers stalk a €1m DAA contract

SHANE ROSS

JOIN the DAA and travel by taxi. Tomorrow the contract closes for the taxi gig to carry DAA staff to work. The DAA uses more than 8,000 taxis a year to take its staff to and from work .

The DAA will pay out as much as €1m over five years for staff taxis. The contract is pitched in a range of €900,000 to €1.5m for the lucky firm.

Queues for the contract are said to be nearly as long as those at departures on a Monday morning. The tender says the service will be needed "outside public transportation hours". Airport spokesmen plead that staff will pay "up to 40 per cent" of the cost.

Out at Dublin Airport last Monday morning there was a traffic jam at 5.30am. The place was choc-a-bloc with taxis, presumably taking all the workers to work. The short distance from the roundabout to the terminal building took 20 minutes.

There were taxis everywhere and chaotic traffic control. Hopefully the traffic control in the air is better. In the meantime, on the ground the DAA is taxi-happy.

The DAA lost €13m last year. Its debt trebled. Passengers were down 13 per cent. All the indicators are in the wrong direction -- except for CEO Declan Collier's €568,000 package. (Not bad in a losing year, although probably more than the annual staff taxi bill.)

Perhaps the staff feel entitled to the odd taxi at the taxpayer's expense as the boss's ten grand a week package includes a performance bonus in a down period.

All those taxis will drive past the white elephant known as Terminal Two. Today the DAA is believed to be struggling to fill the airport palace with passengers and retail tenants.

The lucky winner of the taxi contest to transport the staff need not worry. Once the gig is granted, it will have a monopoly, just like the DAA itself.

Sunday Independent

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