Taxi drivers planning strike
THOUSANDS of motorists and commuters face severe disruption from Monday after militant taxi drivers last night threatened to withdraw services for "at least" 24 hours.
And the Irish Taxi Council (ITC) said that its series of protests would continue indefinitely until a cap is put on the number of taxi licences being issued.
There was a series of three-hour work stoppages across the country from noon yesterday as irate drivers mounted a 'go slow' protest at conditions in the industry. Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Ballina, Westport, Athlone, Naas, Mullingar, Carlow and Kilkenny were all hit as drivers refused to pick up fares at taxi ranks, rail and bus stations, airports and shopping centres.
However there was minimum impact on the travelling public.
The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) said it had not experienced problems as Dublin Bus and private operators laid on extra coaches, while Iarnrod Eireann said few passengers were affected.
However if an all-out protest begins on Monday, possibly lasting into several days, commuters, travellers and motorists will be impacted.
One Cork driver said he took to the streets because it was no longer possible to make a living.
"It's cut throat out there, there are too many drivers chasing too few fares," he said.
"There are times when it is hopeless. You can't get onto a rank because of the number of cars operating and sometimes the fares don't even cover your diesel costs. I worked 12 hours one day last week and earned just €40."
A spokesman for Taxi Regulator Kathleen Doyle said that protests would succeed only in costing taxi drivers business and disrupting customers.