The number is down on ten years ago, when the population was less
In Kildare, there are currently approximately 740 taxis in operation down from over 880 ten years ago, according to Insuremytaxi.ie
And yet between 2016 and 2022 alone, the population of the county grew by over 12,000.
Ireland is experiencing a taxi shortage across the country with running costs making participating in the occupation a challenge for many would be taxi drivers.
This is according to insurance experts at Insuremytaxi.ie who say that National Transport Authority (NTA) data shows that there are less than 19,500 licensed taxis, hackneys, and limousines on Irish roads today, compared to 21,900 ten years ago and 27,429 in 2008.
The insurance providers say that several years ago it became unaffordable for many people to pursue a career in the profession due to soaring insurance premiums, but that they believe that a new agreement they have reached with insurers should shave hundreds of euros off the average insurance premium, particularly for small public service vehicles outside of Dublin.
Experts at Insuremytaxi.ie say that taxi insurance is one of the areas of commercial insurance where historically there have been very high premiums – and which has significantly added to the cost of running a taxi. The company believes high insurance costs have contributed to the fact that many drivers have left the business and have acted as a disincentive for new drivers to come in.
Jonathan Hehir, MD of Insuremytaxi.ie spoke of his belief that the cheaper premiums will attract greater numbers to the taxi industry and bridge the gap between demand and supply.
"The shortage of taxis in rural areas is a perennial problem, particularly in isolated rural areas where the cost of providing taxis is often a major obstacle.
"A better-resourced rural taxi service could help combat social isolation in rural areas, particularly for the elderly.
"The implications of an underserviced public are wide-ranging – of course, there’s the public safety element for people who cannot get home late at night. Unfortunately, drink-driving is also an issue. Not having a dependable means of transportation home may well entice people to break the rules around drink-driving.
"In addition, for the tourists arriving in this country, often their first experience is an hour-long wait for taxis at airports and train stations. This isn’t acceptable. There simply aren’t enough taxis on the roads," he added.