David Gardiner, Workers’ Party representative for Palmerstown-Fonthill, has called on the National Transport Authority (NTA) to develop an alternative to taxi app FreeNow, following the most recent price hike from the company.

Gardiner said:
“The recent technology fee increase from €1 to €5 is the latest attempt by FreeNow to squeeze every last cent from their role as the middleman between passengers and taxi drivers. The NTA must step in to offer an alternative.”

“Currently, if you book a taxi with FreeNow and the metre says €20, you’re paying €20 plus a technology fee of up to €5. The driver, however, will only see €17 when FreeNow takes their 15% cut. It’s clear to see that FreeNow are the big winners here at the expense of passengers and drivers.”

“The Workers’ Party are calling on the NTA to cut out the profiteering middleman by creating an app that provides a similar service, but without ripping off passengers and drivers. If the metre says €20, the passenger should pay €20 and the driver should receive €20. Passengers and drivers would both likely be incentivised to use such a service as it would leave them with more money in their pocket.”

“Such an alternative could also encourage more taxi drivers to make themselves available for pick-up. The number of taxis available has proven to be an issue in Dublin in recent months.”

“The NTA have a number of apps currently available for download, including TFI Real Time and Driver Check, so the ability to develop and maintain such a system is clearly not beyond their capabilities.”

“This is a simple and publicly-owned alternative to the seemingly never-ending cost increases that we’re seeing on the private market. It would keep money in the pockets of working people, instead of putting it into the coffers of multinationals who really don’t need it.”