Many taxi drivers are facing the prospect of going out of business due to the extraordinary increase in premiums being charged for taxis, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath.

Deputy McGrath commented, “Taxi drivers all over the country are facing unprecedented increases in the cost of insuring their taxi vehicle. Some extraordinary examples have been brought to my attention in recent weeks. One taxi driver was forced to pay €8,000 insurance for a wheelchair taxi, up from €3,200 the year before. Insurers seem to be imposing savage increases where a second driver is covered on the policy.

“In another example, a taxi firm with a fleet of six vehicles had their premium increased threefold from €1,000 per car to €3,000 per car. Another firm also with six vehicles paid €1,600 per vehicle two years ago, €3,500 per vehicle last year and the premium is now €8,500 per vehicle. That particular firm has had to park up two vehicles and has renewed the policy for four at €8,500 per vehicle. It seems to be impossible for a new taxi driver to obtain insurance cover.

“This is an example of where runaway insurance costs are directly costing jobs. Given that taxi fares are set by the regulator, taxi firms have no way of making up this shortfall. This situation simply cannot be allowed to continue. The insurance industry is dysfunctional and the Government is not doing enough to tackle the problem. If allowed to continue, the serious problems in the industry will have a negative impact on many other parts of the economy.”