When I want to get a taxi in Ireland, I never use Uber and most Irish people never do either. I thought that it was about time I sat down and describe the best ways to get a lift in Ireland.
Does Ireland Have Uber? Yes, but you cannot hire private vehicles on it in Ireland. When you use Uber in Ireland, you will only be able to hire a regular taxi or a limousine. More reliable methods of hiring taxis in Ireland include apps like FREENOW or Bolt or flagging them down on the street.
Visitors to Ireland often find themselves stuck high and dry, without a lift when they use Uber. There are other methods that might be better for you. Read on to learn about hiring a taxi in Ireland and why you won’t need Uber here.
Uber vs Taxis in Ireland
Ireland has notoriously bad infrastructure. This means that there are few options for public transport throughout the country, even in bigger cities like Dublin. In order to fill this gap in the market, taxis have become widespread in Ireland and the industry has been heavily regulated with a strong union. There are thousands of registered taxis in Ireland and sometimes it can be difficult to get a licence for one as the numbers are so high. Irish taxi drivers are also well-organised, and this means that they can have a strong negotiating position with the government when any sort of competition enters into the market.
Because the industry standards are so high, ride-sharing apps like Uber have had difficulty entering into the Irish market and today you will only be able to book a registered taxi or a limousine on the app. The number of Irish taxi drivers who choose to use Uber to book fares is low compared to the number of drivers who use other apps like Bolt or FREENOW, the latter of which was formerly known as Mytaxi and before that, Hailo. I have often seen visitors to Ireland waiting for what seems like an eternity on the streets of Dublin to find an Uber, while countless regular taxis drive by.
Though taxis are considered one of the better ways of getting around, especially after public transport finishes in the evening, the cost of getting taxis everywhere can quickly add up. With such a heavily regulated industry, there are standards in place to protect consumers such as yourself. Always keep an eye on the meter in the front of the car, which should be clearly visible. There will also be an increase in the price of the fare (per kilometre) after 8pm or on certain public holidays. On peak hours, there will also may be an additional charge of €1 for each person in the car. For more detailed information, consult Transport for Ireland’s helpful chart below:
Are Taxis in Ireland Safe?
Taxis in Ireland are safe. They have a good reputation in Ireland compared to other parts of the world and they are often a much safer method of travel than certain alternatives. For example, if you choose to cycle in Ireland, remember that in this country, we drive on the left-hand side of the road. This fact alone can be daunting for drivers, but cyclists have the extra worry that most of the country is simply not built for bicycles, the infrastructure to support large numbers of cyclists simply isn’t there. These facts compound to make taxis a desirable alternative to cycling in much of the country for many travellers.
Another thing to note is that driving under the influence of alcohol in Ireland is strictly forbidden under the law. This may make it difficult to make your way back to your accommodation after a night enjoying the famous Irish pub culture. Walking down unlit country roads at night is not necessarily the safest way to get home and so it might be advisable to investigate getting a taxi back home.
The taxis themselves are well regulated and as a result are generally safe. Any registered taxi will usually consist of a private vehicle with a taxi sign on its roof. This sign will be lit if the taxi is free and will display the registration number of the driver. The driver’s taxi licence should be clearly visible when you enter the car. This licence will contain the driver’s registration number as well as their photo and name. As mentioned previously, you should also be clearly able to see the meter, displaying your current fare in the front of the car.
The Best Way to Get a Taxi in Ireland?
There are a few ways to get a registered taxi in Ireland. If you are staying in a populated area, there will be numerous taxi ranks, clearly visible to the public. These ranks will consist of rows of taxis parked next to one another, with their drivers waiting to pick up a fare. Go up to the first taxi in the rank, signal that you want to hire them and climb aboard! Taxi ranks are common all over Ireland, but you could also just flag one down. If they have their light on and are not on their way to collect another fare, they should stop to pick you up.
If you want to order a taxi you have numerous options. There are plenty of companies that you can ring up to organise your ride. If you are in some sort of establishment, be it a bar, restaurant or hotel, they will likely have a favourable deal with a preferred company and be able to organise your ride for you if asked. This is also a great way to get to a specific destination, like the airport.
It may be quicker though to download one of two free apps that are popular in Ireland. While Lynk has been in operation in the country for years, personally I find it unreliable and will only use it as a last resort. When I need to order a taxi in Ireland, I use MyTaxi. You can set up your account with them for free and link it to either you Facebook or Google account. Once registered you can then register your bank account with them to provide online payment, or you can skip that part of the process and use cash when paying for your ride.
I must stress that this is just my personal experience, you might want to try both and experiment a little yourself.
Taxis or Public Transport?
As I always like to rant, the infrastructure in Ireland is not as good as it should be. This applies to our public transport system too. It can be difficult for locals to get around Ireland by public transport, visitors to Ireland often have a terrible time trying to figure it out. If you are trying to get to a specific location and have a strict time constraint, then a taxi is a viable alternative to public transport. I often use them to get to the airport, especially if I have an early flight.
Another issue is that public transport in Ireland stops running in the evening, usually around midnight. This is fine for most commuters, but if you want to enjoy those Irish pubs, you will probably want to investigate getting a taxi home. This can cause difficulty on certain nights of the year. On a particularly busy night, it might be difficult to get a taxi. If you are having trouble, try walking a little further towards your ultimate destination, there are plenty of taxis in Ireland and you will find one eventually.
If you want to learn more about what you can see via public transport, check out my guide to the best day trips from Dublin, using public transport.
How Much is a Taxi from Dublin Airport to the City Centre? The average cost of a taxi from Dublin Airport to the city centre should be about €20-25. Though this can vary depending on certain factors like time of day and if it is a public holiday.
Do you Tip Taxi Drivers in Ireland? Taxi drivers in Ireland do not expect a tip and they will usually round down when dealing in change. Having said that, they will almost never refuse a tip. Tipping around 10% is common but, use your own discretion.
Do Taxis in Ireland Take Credit Cards? Yes, but it is not straightforward. If you register with apps like MyTaxi, you will be given the option to register a card with which to pay your fare. In almost all other circumstances, like flagging a taxi down, you will have to pay with cash.