Taxi drivers say ‘rank’ needed urgently

Shane Reynolds  Roscommon-based members of the Irish Taxi Drivers Federation have spoken out after claiming that it has been alleged that the taxi rank which has been proposed for Roscommon town will lead to anti-social behaviour. A statement issued to the Roscommon People by the Roscommon Taximen is also in response to concerns that the taxi rank will limit parking spaces in the business centre of the town.    Mr. Kevin Bishop, on behalf of the Roscommon Taximen, refuted claims which he said had been made. He feels that the need for a taxi rank in Roscommon is obvious in order for the town to progress and modernise. Mr. Bishop said that Roscommon Town is the only county town in Ireland and indeed the only provincial town in the whole E.U. that does not have a taxi rank. ‘For anyone to suggest that a taxi rank would be the cause of anti-social behaviour is to say the least ridiculous’ Mr. Bishop said, adding that the claims had been made on radio. ‘It is actually the reverse that the public don’t have to wander round town when they know there is a certain area where they will be able to get a taxi.  ‘In all the recent debates regarding anti-social behaviour when has a taxi rank been mentioned as a problem? Unfortunately there are still a small minority in this area who do not like progess and do not wish to see things modernise. ‘A taxi rank is not only needed but it is necessary. What kind of message are we sending out to visitors and people looking to do business in our county town if we can not provide such a simple amenity as a taxi rank?’  The statement also pointed out that there is full backing from both local and national politicians and the local Gardai (for the allocation of a taxi rank). It added that the only vehicles that are allowed to ply for hire on the street or can be hailed by the public are licensed taxis. ‘No other form of public service vehicle be it mini bus or a Hackney (private hire) is permitted to ply for hire on the street or be flagged down as it is not licensed or insured to do so. And therefore a taxi rank is essential in allowing public access to public transport.’  ‘The biggest problem the public have in socialising in Roscommon is the difficulty in getting home at night; this is mainly due to the fact that the transport system simply does not work.’