‘Derry taxi companies are going to go to the wall,’ Eamonn O’Donnell of North West Taxi Proprietors has warned.
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Mr. O’Donnell told the Stormont Infrastructure Committee this week that the sector is in dire straits as a result of the loss of trade it has suffered over the past nine months.
“We have engaged with the Department. We did it in good faith. We did highlight in those engagements the desperation of taxi drivers because the poverty issues for taxi drivers are out there.
“We also highlighted, and to be fair to the actual operators, they put taxi drivers a wee bit ahead of [themselves] because of the poverty and some of the stories that were there. But the taxi operators were crystal clear: they need support...up in Derry one company has closed during the pandemic. We’ve had to get the drivers under other operator licences.”
“The coffers are empty. The smaller operators....most of them that I have spoken to are in the red. They are running at a loss. The taxi companies are running at a loss. We have lost one so far,” said Mr. O’Donnell.
“Once we lose the operators, and especially the small operators, once they are gone they are gone and some people have their houses hanging on this,” he said.
Urging further assistance for the industry, he warned: “There’s going to be job losses. There are going to be taxi companies going to the wall and there is going to be a massive loss to local communities for the service we supply.”