Air passengers hit by taxis strike
Passengers arriving at Dublin airport have been left stranded by taxi drivers after they staged an unannounced strike.
The row centres on 70 spaces in a holding area of the airport being cut by Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).
Airport officials said they regretted the inconvenience to customers resulting from what it called "unilateral" action and appealed for taxi drivers to resume picking up passengers as soon as possible. Staff are directing passengers to alternative modes of transport including bus services.
John Usher, president of the Irish Taxi Federation, said drivers were left with no option but to pull services when they were given parking tickets from gardai after being forced to stay on the main road. He accused DAA of using bully-boy tactics by moving in overnight and taking the spaces in the overflow area.
"They told us they were looking for spaces and we thought we were in negotiations," said Mr Usher. "We were waiting for a meeting to be held on Friday morning when they came in and took these spaces."
Mr Usher said it was unfortunate passengers have been left to suffer. He added: "We do not want to strike, times are difficult for taxi drivers. But we feel DAA created this problem and we feel they should solve it."
The DAA said its executives held a meeting with a number of taxi representatives and had believed services would be resumed, adding: "Regrettably, this has not happened, and taxi drivers are still refusing to pick up fares at the airport."
Some 1,560 taxis have permits to work in the airport, with 600 spaces set aside at the airport.
DAA said it created the temporary overflow area for taxi drivers in 2010, prior to the opening of Terminal 2 (T2), which can accommodate about 170 vehicles. It told drivers a month ago it needed between 60 and 70 of those spaces back for commercial reasons and claims almost 60 extra spaces were created when the T2 rank opened.
"The amendment to taxi space provision at the airport will mean that taxi drivers will have exactly the same number of spaces this year as they had in 2010, despite the number of airport taxi permit holders declining by more than 300 during the same period," the DAA added.