Dublin taxi demand skyrocketing due to Covid pub closing times

By Amy Donohoe

Demand for Dublin taxis has skyrocketed due to "everyone being dumped out of pubs at the same time", according to drivers.

Taxi men say they are facing intense pressure between 11pm and 1am every Friday and Saturday in Dublin city as pubs all kick their customers out.

But Alan Cooley from the Irish Taxi Drivers Federation hopes that the 'frenzy' will ease once nightclubs finally reopen on October 22.

He said: “The problem in Dublin city is that all the pubs shut at the same time, so everyone is on the streets within that hour looking for a taxi.

“But I can guarantee that by 2am it’s all done and dusted.

"It’s like a frenzy, no matter what taxis you have on the road, you can’t really cover every corner of Dublin city. That’s the problem at the moment.

“But when the nightclubs are open, it was staggered but everyone is being dumped out of the pubs at the same time on a Friday and Saturday night.

"Taxis won’t be in demand when the clubs open, because people will be leaving at a staggered pace.

“People are rushing out of pubs now, so around 11:30pm, every pub closes its door and there’s a rush between 11pm and 1am.

"We’re hoping that it’ll all level off when the nightclubs open."

Taxi drivers have suffered themselves throughout the pandemic, with lingering uncertainty over the amount of work available and the risks involved.

Mr Cooney said taxi drivers themselves are still in their 'reopening stage', and that the nightclubs coming back will help ease the worries of their members as well as customers.

He also said that demand has spiked because Dublin city is a 'dangerous place'.

He said: "It’s not our fault, our members are only getting back on their feet as well with Covid. We’re on our reopening stage as well.

“You used to have drivers starting their shift at 9pm in the evening and working until 6am. During Covid they were hoping that people needed a lift.

“But a lot of them were afraid to come out because of safety reasons, they could have underlying problems, and didn't want to take their chances or bring Covid back to their families. The taxi drivers were vulnerable at the time.

“We’re reopening as well, and our drivers are coming back slowly.

“Most people want to get a taxi home because they feel a bit safer, Dublin city is not safe for a lady or any gender now, it’s a dangerous place.”

People took their frustration to social media to complain about the issue, with popular blogger James Kavanagh tweeting: "Literally had to beggggg a taxi to take me the other night - offered them extra cash and he agreed.

"I was hammered and absolutely freezing, and was already waiting 30 mins on the quays with no luck. Is there a severe lack of taxis these days or wha?"

Another said: "The onslaught of people flooding onto streets around 11:30pm mark is proving the taxi service cannot keep up.

"Need to increase opening hours to have staggered volumes, it’s getting dangerous."

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