Uber called for amid hackney pilot introduction
Uber needs to be introduced as soon as possible in order to prevent more restaurant and pub closures in rural Ireland.
That’s according to Cork County Cllr Sean O'Donovan (FF) who, at Monday’s meeting of Cork County Council, said the impact of Covid-19 has seen many taxi drivers “drive into the sunset”.
Cllr O’Donovan said social interaction, as well as the pub and restaurant industries in county Cork, are suffering terribly due to the lack of taxi services available to locals.
He said: “Social interaction is the lifeblood of people and people meeting other people is the oxygen that keeps society vibrant.
“People are not able to get a taxi home after a night out and this has led to pub closures, restaurant closures, and job losses in the hospitality industry. The reality is that we need to introduce Uber.”
Currently, the hiring of private vehicles via the Uber app is not possible in Ireland. Uber is active in Ireland in Limerick and Dublin but only for the hiring of taxis or limousines.
Cllr O’Donovan continued: “We need to introduce Uber to save the social fabric of rural Ireland. Uber drivers are solving transport problems in 72 countries and over 10,000 cities. It's time for Minister Eamon Ryan to wake up.”
Mayor of Cork Cllr Danny Collins said: “As a publican myself, we had 2 taxis on every night in Bantry but 2 wouldn't cover it. People were waiting hours upon hours. This shouldn’t be happening. I was in San Francisco recently and I saw the way Uber worked and it's a great system.”
Meanwhile, Newmarket is to host a 1 year pilot programme for a localised, specially licenced hackney service to help improve transport choices for people living in rural locations across the country.
Launched by Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD alongside the National Transport Authority (NTA), the Local Hackney Pilot is a grant aided programme designed to encourage new part-time local hackney services to operate in communities which could not support a full-time taxi or hackney operation.
The programme will roll out across 21 rural areas throughout 2023.
Minister Ryan said: “One of our key priorities in transport is to improve connectivity across rural Ireland in particular, not just in towns, but in the areas around those towns where so many people live and farm.
“This pilot responds to the reality of rural life in Ireland, in a creative and local-based way, connecting people from their doors to local towns, healthcare centres, the post-offices, or onto other transport stops and hubs.”
Applications to take part in the Local Hackney Pilot Programme can be made at localhackney.ie.