Statement from FREENOW regarding state of the Irish taxi industry.

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Charlie Gleeson, General Manager, FREENOW Ireland Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

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Charlie Gleeson, General Manager, FREENOW Ireland addresses some of the recent discussions regarding the state of the Irish taxi industry.

“Despite claims of an ongoing taxi supply shortage, as the market leading taxi app in Ireland, we are seeing a slightly different picture. Currently, FREENOW has more active drivers on the platform than in 2019, despite the fall in NTA licences which, while being a key reference metric, doesn’t give a full representation of the overall taxi supply and pick up rates in a region. 

In fact, FREENOW’s taxi supply in 2023 was stronger than ever, with 8% more drivers year-over-year. These new drivers are very engaged, reflected in our supply hours. Our overall service levels are stronger than ever and we are committed to delivering an exceptional service to passengers across Ireland.

We have also been actively recruiting aspiring new drivers to join the fleet. We recorded a 33% increase in new drivers completing our “Manual” training programme in 2023. This resource plays a crucial role in helping new drivers prepare for the National Transport Authority’s SPSV Driver Entry Test, a necessary step for entering the taxi industry.

In Q1 2024, FREENOW has continued to see positive growth trends. New driver sign-ups increased by 21% compared to Q1 2023, and driver availability has grown by over 8%. Service levels continue to improve year-on-year by 4.5%, with the average acceptance time improving significantly, ensuring passengers get a taxi quickly.

While we know that there are occasional pinch-points, where demand surges to challenging levels, according to our data, these bottlenecks are becoming less frequent each year, thanks to the NTA’s commendable efforts and our driver partners’ dedication. We also support initiatives such as the proposed Sale of Alcohol Bill, which includes staggered club and late-night venue closing times. These measures will help alleviate late-night demand for public transport and availability of taxis.

As Ireland’s leading taxi app, our priority continues to be supporting our driver partners and ensuring the best service for our passengers and we remain committed to collaborating with industry stakeholders, the NTA, policymakers, and drivers to uphold industry standards.”