Since the pandemic hit in 2020, the sector has depleted significantly.
Getting a taxi anywhere these days is a challenge. While we're all used to having to basically fight for one past midnight on the weekends, the pandemic has made getting a taxi at any time extremely difficult. According to FREE NOW, the national fleet has depleted by 30% in the last decade. This shortage in taxi drivers is by no means limited to just Ireland; on a recent trip to Edinburgh the situation was particularly dire.
However, recently they've reported on a rise in aspiring taxi driver numbers in Ireland. FREE NOW say that they've noticed a "growing demand for its online training programme that helps aspiring taxi drivers pass the National Transport Authority’s SPSV Entry Test." Numbers in April were up by 25% with aspiring Dublin drivers compared to last January (when we were in the height of our longest lockdown). By this measurement, the taxi situation in Ireland should start to heal in the coming months.
FREE NOW also did research on what their drivers find to be the most positive about the job. In their study they found that 60% of taxi drivers enjoy their work and would recommend it as a career. They also say that the main benefits are choosing your own hours, maintaining a good work/life balance, and effectively being able to work for yourself. Nearly a third of them said the social aspect of the job was a huge bonus also.
Some of the challenges facing taxi drivers in Ireland is passing the SPSV test, as well as current taxi fares. The FREE NOW training programme aims to assist aspiring drivers with the entry test. You can learn more about it HERE.
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