Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Darren O’Rourke has called for an immediate resolution to the issues which have resulted in Free Now taxi app drivers going without pay.
The company has missed a fourth payment deadline in two weeks, causing serious concern among drivers. The Meath East TD said the delay is adding insult to injury to an already devastated sector.
Speaking today, Teachta O’Rourke said: “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the taxi industry. Many have been left without work or on severely reduced hours.
“State support has been minimal but many overheads have remained. Restrictive criteria has excluded many taxi drivers from all of the state supports including, for those over 66, the pandemic unemployment payment and, for those who returned to work early, last week’s sole-trader restart grant.
“In addition to this and the range of issues affecting the industry such as licensing, NCT and vehicle suitability bureaucracies, payment is now being withheld from Free Now app drivers.
“This relates to credit and debit card work booked through the app. Given the prioritisation of non-cash payment due to Covid-19, this is a very significant outlay and one that drivers can ill-afford to go without.
“Third party payment providers are being blamed for the delay, dating back to August 3rd, and it is a case of insult to injury for drivers. They are being denied payment for work carried out and it is unacceptable.
“Whatever the cause, this issue needs to be addressed immediately and drivers should be paid what they are owed.”