New data from leading mobility app FREENOW highlights growing year-on-year interest among aspiring taxi drivers hoping to join Ireland’s taxi fleet. FREENOW recorded a 33% increase in new drivers completing its Manual training programme in 2023 which helps new drivers prepare for the National Transport Authority’s SPSV Driver Entry Test. Last year the training programme helped 67% of new drivers who joined FREENOW’s fleet to pass the driver entry test and secure their SPSV licence.
The Manual is part of FREENOW’s ongoing commitment to invest in the growth of the national taxi fleet and the company has announced further 2024 investment of €600K in the continued rollout of the free online driver training programme which 236 new candidates sign up for each week on average.
FREENOW’s driver partner base has grown overall by approximately 9% year-on-year in 2023, marking a record high for the mobility app. The growing driver fleet has also supported improvements in service levels on the app over the past 12 months with its trip completion rate improving YoY by 8%.
The number of drivers partnering with FREENOW outside of Dublin has also grown substantially, with notable year-on-year increases across Limerick (+8.6%), Galway (7.7%) and Cork (+4.5%). Following FREENOW’s Naas launch in October of last year and partnership with Eights Taxis (the local 24/7 phone operator taxi company), active drivers in Kildare rose by over 20% in Q4 2023. The company also expanded to new counties in H1 of 2023, including Sligo, Wicklow, and Louth, aligning with its strategic focus on national growth and plans for further expansion across additional counties in 2024.
Charlie Gleeson, General Manager for FREENOW Ireland commented:
“It is great to see the rising number of hopeful taxi drivers registering for our training programme as it reflects fresh interest in careers within the taxi sector. We have over 230 candidates registering on average every week, and in total it has helped 3,253 drivers pass the driver entry test and achieve their SPSV licence, representing about a quarter of our entire driver base.”
“As a result of a record growth of our fleet last year, and the ongoing expansion of our offering to new regions across the country, we have seen positive improvements in our service levels and ability to fulfil trip requests during busy periods year-on-year.”
“In 2024 we are committed to continued investment in our driver training programme, in addition to investment in driver incentives to support our driver partners in keeping passengers moving and providing important door-to-door, on-demand transport.”
“Strengthening our national fleet in line with the existing regulatory framework established by the NTA to underpin the sector will be crucial as we move forward – ensuring that the high standards, requirements, and quality of the taxi sector are maintained as we build a resilient and high-functioning taxi offering fit for now and for the future.”