12 June 2003 Edition

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Time for real debate on taxi deregulation

Speaking after a protest by taxi drivers outside Leinster House on Tuesday, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Seán Crowe said that it was time for a real debate about whether deregulation of the taxi industry had worked. Crowe plans to raise the issue in Leinster House by calling for a debate on the Order of Business.

The Dublin South-West Deputy said: "In the two years since deregulation, the taxi supply has trebled while the increase in demand has only marginally increased. Taxi operating costs have also increased and these factors taken together mean a real decline in income for the families of taxi drivers. Drivers are being forced into working long hours over six and seven day weeks merely to make ends meet.

"Prior to 1983 21 American cities deregulated taxi services. By 1993, 17 of them, including all major ones, had reregulated taxi services as none of the promised beneficial effects had materialised. In 1990, Sweden deregulated and then in 1995 effectively re-introduced regulation again. We need to seriously look at what the results of de-regulation have been.

"Has the quality of service improved? Are there dangers from lack of regulation about who is getting taxi licences? Are people safer using taxis now than they were before de-regulation? It is unfortunate that it has taken a strike by taxi drivers in Dublin today to bring these important questions to the minister's attention. He needs to take responsibility for this situation and answer these questions now."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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