‘TRALEE COULD LOSE ONE IN FIVE TAXIS’
TRALEE TAXI ASSOCIATION WARNS NEW RANKS WILL HAVE DEVASTATING IMPACT
THE Tralee Taxi Association has warned that one in five local taxi drivers could be forced out of business within a year as a result of new Taxi Rank bye-laws approved by Tralee Municipal District’s councillors last Friday.
Taxi drivers had called for a rank on Denny Street – backed by a petition signed by over 1,200 people – but this proposal was not put before councillors, who could make only minor adjustments before approving eight new full and part-time ranks in the town centre.
The Taxi Association say that the new rank system will have a disastrous impact on their members’ livelihoods and could force as many as 20 of the town’s roughly 100 drivers out of work in 12 months.
There has already been one high profile casualty. On Monday, Chairman of the Tralee Taxi Association, Terry Boyle, announced he was quitting the business – after 26 years – as a direct result of the new bye-laws.
Kerry County Council said “there is no evidence that the bye-laws will result in job losses”.
THE Tralee Taxi Association has warned that one in five local taxi drivers could be forced out of business within a year as a result of new Taxi Rank arrangements for the town centre which were approved by councillors on Friday.
At a special meeting on Friday afternoon Tralee Municipal District Councillors formally approved the location of new 24-hour and night-only taxi ranks in the town centre.
Despite demands for a rank on Denny Street this was not included in the formal proposal that was put before the councillors for a vote. As such the councillors were not in a position to consider a rank on the town’s main street.
They were however able to make a minor adjustment to the proposal that will see two additional 24-hour taxi spaces at Bridge Street, these will be located directly in front of Shaws Department Store and in front of ‘Small’ Benners hardware shop.
A rank on Denny Street was not included in the proposal despite fervent demand from local taxi drivers which was supported by a significant number of businesses and over 1,200 members of the public.
Ahead of Friday’s meeting Tralee Taxi Association presented 1,386 signed submissions from the public backing their calls for a rank on Denny Street.
There were doubts about the legitimacy of around 125 of these signed standard letters but council management acknowledged that at least 1,200 were definitely genuine submissions.
Members of Tralee Chamber Alliance also backed the Denny Street Rank proposal. Of 63 members who responded to a TCA survey on the proposed pedestrianisation of The Mall 32 said they were on favour of a taxi rank on Denny Street.
The Tralee Traffic Strategy designed by transport planning consultancy MVA an published in 2010 recommended a rank on Denny Street but this was removed from the Tralee traffic redevelopment plan following objections from some town centre traders.
Members of the Tralee Taxi Association have said they are “disappointed but not surprised” by the councillors’ decision and criticised the public consultation process as ‘farcical’.
The Association has warned that the new rank system will have a disastrous impact on their members’ business and could see many of them forced out of work.
“The adoption of these byelaws will lead to job losses and there will be a reduction in the taxi fleet of at least 20 vehicles in the next 12 months,” said the Association.
Such a reduction would represent almost one in five of the roughly 100 taxi drivers currently operating in Tralee.
The Association added that the new ranks would be especially problematic for non-na- tional drivers who “don’t have a busy phone trade and are hugely dependent on a workable taxi rank.”
There has already been one high profile casualty.
On Monday – just three days after the vote on the new ranks – Chairman of the Tralee Taxi Association Terry Boyle announced he was quitting the business after 26 years as a taxi driver.( see story left)
The new taxi ranks were approved unanimously by the seven Tralee councillors present at for Friday’s vote. Cllr Jim Finucane (FG) was absent due to a family bereavement. Cllr Pat McCarthy (FG) was also absent for the vote.
Management at Kerry County Council refuted the suggestion the new rank bye-laws will cost jobs stating in a response to the Taxi Association that “there is no evidence to suggest that the implementation of these byelaws will result in job losses.”
The new look refurbished Mall which is to remain pedestrianised.