Taxi drivers are “up in arms” that no temporary taxi spaces are being provided by the Galway City Council as the Eyre Square rank has been removed for five weeks to faciliate the Christmas Market.
The new location for the market at the top of Eyre Square has reduced the number of taxi rank spaces by 16 in what is the busiest rank in the city. Taxi drivers are also angry at the lack of consultation and discussion over this decision.
Pat Hardiman, a taxi driver and member of the Galway City Council Transportation SPC Commitee, said the reduction in rank space was “not discussed at the SPC’s most recent meeting in October”. He also noted that the issue failed to be raised at the recent city council meeting .
Speaking to the Galway Advertiser, Mr Hardiman said: “We are here 11 months of the year. Why do we have to give it up for the busiest month?”
He also argues that it is not just taxi drivers that have been inconvenienced, but the public as well. “Customers are not happy,” he said, “especially elderly customers, who bring shopping bags from the shops around Eyre Square. They are not happy about part of the rank being removed for Chritsmas.”
He added the closure of the turn off at Eyre Street, near the Bank of Ireland, will also cause traffic problems for ordinary motorists and taxis, especially in the lead up to Christnas.
Mr Hardiman said he would raise this issue at the next meeting of the Transportation SPC in City Hall.
The Progressive Friends Taxi Association have also complained about the lack of consultation regarding the move and have warned that the chaos created may lead to incorrect parking. Ina letter, their chairman Frank Okonkwo has asked that Gardai apply discretion to illegal parking because of this.
He said that they feel let down because of the lack of information and have said that there is increased tension and confusion that could have been avoided if a meeting had taken place to inform them well ahead of the closures.