We don’t normally support price hikes, but the low fares which Derry taxi-drivers are required to charge allow an exception.
Minimum fares in Derry are lower than in Belfast, Dublin or Cork. Yet the cost of running a taxi isn’t any lower.
The problem comes in part from the contradictory nature of taxi work. Most drivers are in the same position as “ordinary” employees in that they effectively work for a company - the firms which provide the radio networks for allocating jobs.
But drivers are also individual operators, officially self-employed. It is virtually impossible for them to negotiate pay on a collective basis.
Thus, while there’s serious money being made in the Derry taxi business, it’s not being made by drivers. Some have to work 70 or more hours a week to make ends meet – and there’s no such thing as weekend or overtime rates.
Posters have appeared around town asking for support for a modest increase in the minimum fare of £2.50.
The extent to which so many of us depend on taxis would be brought home if all of the drivers were to stop work for a day. But collective action is a difficult ask for drivers. Those of us who use and depend on taxis should make it plain that the drivers