TAXI passengers need to be provided with cashless payment options in all taxis as a matter of public health, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer, who is the party's transport spokesperson in the Seanad, said almost a year ago the National Transport Authority (NTA) acknowledged that their drivers will be obliged to accept card payments.
"This has still not been rolled out. Why the delay?
"It should have occurred before a worldwide pandemic hit which made us all acutely conscious about our health and contact points and the use of hard cash.
"I have subsequently learned that the consultation process overseen by the NTA regarding cashless facilities in taxis has not completed due to Covid-19.
"It is time to move on.
"We cannot wait around for the virus to go away and have to learn to live with it in our working and personal lives,"
Speaking to, Cork Taxi Council spokesperson Bobby Lynch said drivers were initially somewhat hesitant about getting card machines, but they are now seeing a rise in the number of drivers getting them.
"The reasons why we were against it at the start was that they [the NTA] might come along and tell us that we might have had to go to Ulster Bank or AIB or Bank of Ireland and get them [chip and pin machines] which would be a big cost to us but then taxi drivers were able to go away and get them themselves for good rates.
"A lot of them are after doing so now but there is a lot of the elderly drivers out there that wouldn’t be up to date with the technology and they’re a bit worried," Mr Lynch said.
"What we [the Cork Taxi Council] did was we told people to get their own and any driver that wanted one and didn’t know how to use it, come to us and we would show him.
"The NTA only dictates to us and we get no help," he said.
"We’re going through SumUp there at the moment and another company and their rates are very good. We have to go along with the times," he continued.
Mr Lynch also raised the point that some taxi drivers are concerned about card payments being declined.
"If we have someone paying by card and let’s say we drive them from Cork city to Youghal, we don’t know if their card will be declined or not when we get to Youghal.
"We’d like the NTA to give us guidance on what to do in scenarios like that."