Scores of people are left waiting at an empty taxi rank at Dublin Airport, while taxis summoned through mobile phone apps are readily available in a nearby car park. This issue came to light when multiple flights from holiday destinations arrived after midnight, resulting in 60 adults and several children queuing at the official taxi rank. According to a source, there was only one taxi that arrived during the 15-minute wait, while 30 taxis were accessible through the FreeNow app in the nearby car park, with no wait time required.
It seems that the problem stems from the fact that only airport-permitted taxis are allowed to access the rank. Online taxi services, on the other hand, are permitted by Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) to use the car park, but this information is not widely known. A spokesperson for DAA acknowledged that there may be occasional queues at the airport late at night due to high demand for taxis in Dublin city, particularly during major sporting or concert events. However, they assured that the airport team takes swift action by making phone calls to encourage additional taxis to come to the airport, thus reducing the queues quickly.
DAA emphasized that in the past month, nine out of ten passengers waiting for a taxi at the airport rank experienced a wait time of 10 minutes or less, with an average waiting time of less than five minutes. This represents an improvement from last year when the average waiting time was less than eight minutes. The spokesperson also highlighted that DAA is committed to further reducing wait times for passengers and has recently issued an additional 300 new permits, bringing the total number of permits in operation at Dublin Airport to over 2,000. They added that driver activity is closely monitored to ensure that all permit holders are completing a minimum number of journeys from the airport each quarter.
However, one TD (Teachta Dála, member of the Irish parliament) criticized the taxi service and its management by DAA, stating that it is “not fit for purpose” due to reports of infrequent arrivals at the rank during the early hours. Jennifer Whitmore, a TD from the Social Democrats, expressed her concern about the inconvenience faced by young families who have to wait for long periods in the middle of the night just to get home. She also highlighted that this issue not only affects holidaymakers but also has an impact on business and incoming tourists, which could have reputational risks for Ireland.
In conclusion, the lack of available taxis at Dublin Airport’s official rank during late hours has led to frustration among passengers, while taxis summoned through mobile apps are easily accessible in a nearby car park. DAA acknowledges the occasional queues but assures that steps are taken to clear them quickly. Efforts are being made to reduce waiting times further, and additional permits have been issued to accommodate the demand. Nonetheless, there are calls for improved management of the taxi service to ensure a sufficient and reliable transport service for all passengers, including young families and tourists, in order to avoid reputational risks for Ireland.