TAXI drivers will this morning petition regulator Kathleen Doyle to have a deputy taxi regulator appointed to Munster.
The 400-name petition by Cork drivers is a protest at plans by the regulator to introduce a maximum fare.
The drivers say many are working for less than the minimum wage as there are so many licences in Cork.
In 2002, there were 600 taxi plates in Cork. Now there are almost 1,350.
Some drivers claim their salaries have dropped by as much as 40% compared to only a few years ago.
They also claim there are large numbers of illegal drivers operating in Cork because there are so few checks by the regulator’s staff outside Dublin.
“There are only nine inspectors in the country and only once every two months do two of those inspectors come to Cork,” said one driver. “As soon as they check one vehicle the word spreads that they are here and the illegal operators leave the streets.”
The driver, who did not wish to be named, said he was forced to work up to 20 hours extra a week to earn a wage that was still below the national minimum hourly rate. “I used to be able to take a day off each week. Now I am working for seven days for up to 70 hours a week,” he said.
The drivers say a deputy regulator in the south would bring attention to the situation outside Dublin.
The Cork drivers’ proposals include having an actuary carry out a financial analysis of their earnings potential.
Every part of the country is disaffected with taxi regulation. In the last 12 months, drivers in Limerick, Dublin and Waterford have all engaged in strike action.
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