Problems with MyTaxi

It's been just over 6 months now since MyTaxi took over from Hailo in Dublin.

At the time of the change-over there were a barrage of customer complaints, but has the company overcome these teething troubles since then?

Not in my experience!

I used the MyTaxi app on two consecutive days over the last week, and had trouble both times.

On both occasions, when I opened up the app, the screen informed me there was a taxi available a couple of minutes away. But each time when I went to try and book a taxi, all the nearby cabs seemed to evaporate into thin air.

So either I was incredibly unlucky, and someone else managed to book the taxi moments before me, or else the app was lying to me about the availability of cabs. Either way, it was embarrassing to me, because I was telling my family that there was a cab 2 minutes away, and then 30 minutes later, no driver had yet accepted the job.

To counter the problem of taxi availability on the 2nd day, I decided to use the pre-book feature. But that didn't work either. I wanted a taxi at 7.30pm, but the app said that I could either have one at 6.15pm, or I would have to wait until 8.45pm, because all the pre-book slots were taken.

I never had these difficulties when using Hailo. I always used to be able to get a taxi whenever I needed one, within about 10 minutes. But on my recent experience, it takes about 30-40 minutes to get a taxi with MyTaxi.

I'm seriously considering ditching the app altogether, and going back to ordering taxis by phone.

Is Ireland facing a transportation crisis?

It seems that not a week goes by these days without another news story about our transportation network.

A few weeks ago we had a three-week strike by Bus Eireann drivers. Over the last few days there was a call for increased road capacity on the N11 as it is so severely congested, and at the same time four people die every day in Ireland as a result of air pollution, about half of which is attributed to traffic emissions.

Certainly there’s a problem with transportation in this country, particularly in our cities. Our over-reliance on cars to get about is only going to get worse over time. Particularly when 44% have a perception that public transport is difficult to use.

The answer is definitely not to build more roads. That’s not going to ease congestion or reduce pollution – it will just encourage more people to drive, and make the situation worse. The only answer is to get people out of their cars, and get them using more sustainable transport options – public transport, cycling and walking.

But how do you convince people to leave the car at home?

We need a mind-shift in Ireland. We need a change in attitude amongst the people that this needs to be tackled. And we need to decide, once and for all, whether we want a properly-funded and sustainable transport network.

That means putting proper investment into trains, busses (including Bus Eireann), trams, cycle lanes, and footpaths – to make our cities into places where its safe and easy to get about without a car. It’s only then, once we’ve made the investment, that people will finally (and willingly) leave their cars behind and we will see lasting reductions in congestion and pollution.

Unfortunately the political will at the moment seems to be leaning in a different direction. Instead of the carrot approach of making sustainable travel appealing, they are making noises about the stick approach of increasing taxation on diesel cars – through increasing fuel duties and tolls. These are the same diesel cars that the government of 10-15 years ago were trying to persuade people to buy, in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

Hailo Promo Code

Hailo taxi app has introduced a new friends and family referral discount scheme.

All new customers that make their first journey using the Hailo app and pay by credit/debit card will get a free €5.00 discount off their taxi fare. To get the discount simply use the following promo code when signing up for an account:

RICHA4165

The offer is open only to new customers, and applies to the first journey only. A value of €5.00 will automatically be deducted from your taxi fair, and any balance will be charged to your card.

As it’s a referral scheme, I’ll also get a free €5 credit to my account!

Update: On 26th September 2016 Hailo reduced the referral discount from €10 to €5, so I’ve updated this post to reflect the reduced amount. The code still works, but you get a smaller discount.

3000 Days in Ireland

As of today I’ve been living in Ireland for 3,000 days.  That’s a little over 8 years.  And when you put it together with the 12 years I lived in Scotland, then I’ve been living outside of my home country of England for over 20 years.

In another few years, I’ll have been living outside of England for longer than I ever lived there.

And although England will always be my nation of birth, and my accent will always identify me as English, the length of time away has shifted my allegiances somewhat. For international sporting events, for example, I feel much more allegiance to the Irish team than I do for the English.

I guess England no longer feels like home to me.  Sure, it’s where I grew up, and it’s where I have family. But in my case, my feeling of connection to England has faded over time. And as such, I don’t really harbour any desire to return.

Passengers on flights from the UK still have to go through Passport Control in Dublin Airport

Yesterday afternoon I arrived home on a flight from Edinburgh, and had to queue for 25 minutes at Passport Control in Dublin Airport. When I fly the other way, into the UK from Ireland, there’s no passport checks when I arrive. So why am I forced to go through Passport Control in Dublin?

Ireland and the UK have what is called a “common travel area” that is meant to allow people to travel freely between the two countries without having to show their passport – and includes everyone travelling between Ireland and Britain, and Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Unfortunately in 1997 the Irish government changed the law so that the rule about not requiring passengers to present a passport only applies to Irish and British citizens. People from other countries (including other EU nationals) are required to present their passport when arriving in Ireland.

And because a flight or ferry from the UK will probably include people who are not Irish or British, then everyone has to be checked when they arrive.

And although all passengers have to go through Passport Control, if you are Irish or British you don’t actually need to show your passport. Your only requirement is to satisfy the Immigration Officers (who are members of the Garda Síochána) that you have travelled from within the common travel area (your boarding card should suffice) and that you are an Irish or British citizen.

Of course, the easiest way to prove you a Irish or British citizen is to show your passport! But according to the citizen’s information you just need to show any form of photographic ID to prove who you are, such as a driver’s licence, bus pass, or work ID. However none of these other forms of photographic ID show your nationality, so I don’t know how that’s supposed to work.