Efforts continue to end airport taxi dispute

Talks were continuing late last night between the Dublin Airport Authority and taxi unions to try to avert a third day of disruption for thousands of airline passengers.

Taxi drivers there have been staging a wildcat strike since Wednesday in a row over parking spaces.

They are protesting over the removal on Tuesday of up to 70 spaces in a temporary holding area. It had been created in 2010 during the building of the T2 terminal.

They claim some drivers have been forced to wait on the public road, creating a disruption to traffic flow, and that they are liable to receive parking tickets. Taxi drivers have refused a DAA offer to reinstate 30 parking spaces in the waiting area.

A DAA spokesperson said yesterday that the offer was “reasonable” and made in order to have taxi services restored and to facilitate further talks. The DAA maintains the spaces created in the overflow holding area were always designed as a temporary measure. The spokesperson said the overall number of parking spaces for taxis would remain at 2010 levels, despite the number of taxi drivers with permits to collect fares at the airport having decreased by 300.

About 1,500 taxi drivers pay between €400 and €440 annually to operate from the airport, which can hold 390 cars between ranks at the two terminals and a holding area.

The DAA pointed out the problem of space in the holding area had been exacerbated by the refusal of taxi drivers to fill up ranks at the two main terminals. They offer 90 spaces.

Taxi drivers — represented by five separate groups — are resisting the use of an automatic system designed to call taxis from the holding areas in groups of five, in preference to being called on an individual basis to ensure they secure trade based on how long they have been waiting.

The DAA claims the average waiting time for taxis to pick up a fare at the airport is two hours.

The airport authorities insist the temporary holding area is now required for “commercial” reasons — understood to be parking facilities for DAA staff.

Drivers yesterday staged a number of slow, noisy, convoys around the main roads at the airport which led to some traffic congestion.

Traveller disruption was largely allayed by other transport operators laying on extra buses.


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