We have possibly the worst taxis in Europe.
Smelly, 92-C reg Toyotas, on their third lap of the mileometer, driven by smoking racists or immigrant ignoramuses, that's if they aren't actually also convicted rapists or a couple of years out of prison after serving time for mowing down three people under the influence the last time they had a licence.
Yup, rock-bottom service provided by characters of all sorts of dubiety, in cars that range from comfy new limos to stinking scrappers. That's the taxi industry in Ireland.
But you wouldn't get that impression if you listened to the industry, of course. Living up to rumours that they are riven with criminality, they took to blocking the streets of Dublin today, moaning as they always do about not fleecing the rest of us for enough of our money.
Well, I reckon it's time the rest of us spoke out about this appalling industry and demanded higher service rather than higher prices.
I suggest that everyone email the Taxi Regulator and send them a submission for the current public consultation on hiking taxi fares yet again. You can be sure that taxi drivers and their families are emailing the regulator asking for stupid money for their poor service. Well, it's up to the rest of us to put the regulator right.
Have a read of this. The taxi mafia want MORE money, again.
Well, it's time for the rest of us to mail the regulator before mid-June and tell them no. Here's the address: email@example.com.
Put this in the title: Feedback on Consultation Paper Number 5 Taxi Fare Revision.
Then in the body of your email, tell the regulator that the current system doesn't deserve to hike prices. Tell the regulator that the service is so poor and poorly overseen, that in fact prices should fall and fall dramatically to truly represent value for the service offered.
If you don't fancy putting it in your own words, you could always adapt what I wrote:
Obviously the fares issue is one of the least pressing issues relating to the Irish taxi industry. The urgent requirement to ensure that drivers know the regions in which they drive, the need to enforce basic standards of car safety and cleanliness, the police vetting of drivers to prevent convicted sex offenders or those with prior motoring convictions from joining the industry, and the introduction of language proficiency testing are just four more pressing issues than the idea of hiking prices yet again.
Without these basic safeguards of professionalism in place, why should the public be forced, yet again, to suffer an unjustifiable hike in prices?
Frankly, without these elements in place, it would be more relevant to slash the current prices to account for the sub-standard nature of service within the industry currently.
I suggest cutting the minimum fare to a euro (1.20 during night time hours) for starters, and tarriffs should range from 40c per km to no more than 1 euro per km. No more than 1 euro is a legitimate booking fee, and extra passengers and luggage should be charged for in keeping with their addition to the weight being carried - therefore additional passengers ought to be charged no more than a 5% addition to the overall fare, and similar for luggage items.
As a post-script, it is essential that the regulator refuse all attempts by taxi representatives to enforce a cap on entrants to the industry, or any other form of protectionism. The regulator should not be bullied by stunts such as the blocking of traffic in Dublin today by the lunatic fringe of the industry. The public deserves better than for these people to be given into every time they behave in this sort of anti-social manner, disrupting the capital.
Currently, the taxi industry is a poorly performing industry with low standards and high costs to the consumer. What we want to see is exactly the opposite. It is imperative that the regulator place the consumer at the centre of all future revisions and changes to the industry.
Maybe if the regulator grows a set of stones and cuts their money, some of the scumbags will be driven out of the industry altogether.
Maybe the regulator might get some ideas from our emails and start implementing some basic police vetting for drivers, some basic knowledge and language testing for drivers, some basic hygiene monitoring of cars, and maybe the result of that would be some basic civility from the bolshiest and most dubious industrial sector in Ireland.