Cork drivers say taxi branding on cars has made them a 'magnet for criminals'

Cork drivers say taxi branding on cars has made them a 'magnet for criminals'
Taxi drivers Bobby Lynch, Trevor Long and Eddie Hennessy with the TAXI 'branding' on the passenger door of the car. Pic; Larry Cummins

TAXI drivers are willing to face prosecution by removing statutory branding from their cabs which they say is making them a magnet for criminals.

A number of drivers said their cars are being targeted by thieves out of working hours.

Trevor Long said Sunday night was the second time in just five weeks his car was broken into outside his home in Gurranabraher.

The thieves are targeting taxis in the belief there could be cash from fares inside.

Mr Long stressed that the trouble did not begin until after the introduction of new taxi branding signage into the sector in recent years. The branding carries the vehicle licence number along with the Transport for Ireland logo.

Pic; Larry Cummins
Pic; Larry Cummins

It was intended to promote accountability. However, a number of taxi drivers argue they are only attracting the attention of criminals.

“You can now tell these are taxis from a mile away,” Mr Long said.

“This is the second time in five weeks the gardaí have been outside my door doing forensics on my car. It’s all down to these stickers. They are a magnet for criminals. Even if they get 10 or 20 quid that’s enough for them.”

He warned that this is raising the cost of insurance for taxi drivers considerably.

“I’m thinking of taking the stickers off my car and facing the taxi regulators to see what they have to say about it,” he said.

“These stickers are costing me money now so I may just take a chance and see what happens in court. I’ll face the regulator and see if they will pay for the damage that’s been done to my car.”

He warned that it is not just Cork taxi drivers who have been affected. “I’ve been driving for 15 years and I didn’t have any trouble until these stickers were introduced. 

"The way things are going I’m expecting that my car will be broken into again in another couple of days. I know that if I take the stickers off I can park the car anywhere and it will never be touched."

Taxi driver Eddie Hennessy had his cab broken into by criminals in the early hours of last Saturday morning.

“All that was taken was around €30 or €40 but it meant losing out on a half day’s work,” he said. 

“There are a lot of costs that taxi drivers go through without having to put up with this as well.”

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