A NEW ‘Uber’ type taxi service for country areas could help revive Fermanagh’s rural pubs and improve social isolation.
That was the view of publicans in the county regarding an ambitious plan currently being considered in the South, that could work equally well in Fermanagh.
Proposed by Cork TD Jim Daly as a way of improving transport in rural areas, the ‘Ruxi’ scheme would give local people a chance act as cab drivers without a taxi licence within 15km of their home.
It would be based on a Uber-style system where drivers and passengers use a phone app to arrange lifts.
The local publicans the Herald spoke to saw potential for a similar scheme to work in Fermanagh, where rural pubs have been struggling in recent years as more people stay drinking at home, which creates its own issues.
Dessie McKenzie from the Linnet Inn in Boho said he would definitely be in favour of it.
“Drink driving is obviously one of many nails in the coffin for this type of business,” he said, pointing out a rural pub was at the heart of a community.
“It’s understandable of course, but there is a very big stigma now attached to being prosecuted for drink driving. We need more initiatives like this.
“For example, for me to buy something that has seats in it to leave people home, it’s very costly, even to get the proper insurance. Anything that would be viable, safe and mean you’re not breaking any laws, I’d be in favour of it.”
Liam Moane of the Corrany Bar also agreed, pointing out it would help get people out their homes and socialising, helping with isolation in rural areas. He said a tightening of the drink driving laws, including the fact drivers can still be over the limit the next day, as well as social factors meant people no longer drove to the pub and got a lift home.
“People don’t want their car on the pub street overnight,” he said. “They don’t want the neighbours to see its been there all night, so they’re having to get lifts both to the pub and a lift home.”
Rory Foy of the Milltown Manor in Tempo also thought the scheme could work locally.
“I’d say it probably would be a good thing all right. It’s hard enough to get in,” he said.
What is Ruxi?
– Proposed by TD Jim Daly, the ‘Ruxi’ system of rural taxis would allow normal drivers, without needing a special licence, to operate their own cab service within a maxium radius of 15km of their home.
– Given there would be theorectialy more available drivers, who are locally located and this would not have to drive out from the nearest town, the service would likely be much more affordable for those in rural areas.
– The service would not be intended to replace established taxi services, but rather work in tandem with it, much like Uber does in cities. Like Uber, Ruxi drivers will register that they are available on a mobile phone app. Potential customers then log into this app and use it to hail the nearest available cab.
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Posted: 1:47 pm February 6, 2019