"The most visible sign of the Irish recession is not the endless 'For Sale' or 'Price Reduced' signs that line residential and business streets; it is the sheer number of idle taxis. At some taxi stands in central Dublin, the cars are lined up a two dozen deep, their drivers bored rigid behind the wheel.
No wonder: There are about 16,000 licensed taxis in Dublin, up from about 2,800 in the late 1990s. That's a lot of taxis. New York City, which is 7 or 8 times bigger than Dublin (population 1.2-million), has about 13,000 licensed cabs.
A decade ago, Dubliners complained about having to wait an hour or longer for a cab. So the city deregulated the licensing process. Almost anyone could get in the taxi game and the numbers grew enormously. [Then] the recession...hit and drivers are getting desperate. Dublin could do with half the number of taxis."