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Spotlight: A female taxi driver gives us the down-low on working in the industry

The worst thing? Smelly people apparently.

IT’S NOT EVERY day that you meet a female taxi driver.

shutterstock_511229674 Shutterstock / Africa Studio Shutterstock / Africa Studio / Africa Studio

Figures aren’t available for Ireland, but only two per cent of the UK’s taxi drivers are women. 

This week, we spoke to Edwina O’Connor who is 41, is born and bred from Dublin and is a taxi driver. After initially becoming a hairdresser when she left school, Edwina was forced to change careers because of a painful condition, common in the profession of hairdressing, called dermatitis.  

How’d you become a taxi driver?

As soon as I passed by driving test, aged 21, my dad made me do the PSV [Public Service Vehicle] test. He said that I’d always have it. You need the licence for other things, not just taxi driving. You can drive a limousine for example, and I used to play football so with a PSV you can drive a coach, and we were always short a coach driver so I was able to do that. 
It wasn’t until I was 27 in 2004, that I initially started [taxi driving] but I gave it up for a couple years during recession but I came back last year 

What do you like most about being a taxi driver? 

I meet different people every day and all sorts of people. From one job to the next I don’t know what day I’m going to have. It’s very diverse and interesting. 

What do you like least?

Smelly people. *laughs* People that just don’t just wash themselves or different types of fluids coming out of their pores.

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Have there been many fights in your car? 

No fights, luckily. I only work days, no nights, but if I did I’d have to deal with alcohol, so I’d imagine there would be some then.

Anyone famous ever been in your car?

I had Ray Houghton, Eamon Dunphy, Ronan O’Gara. Three of them were really nice. Ronan was a bit of craic. But actually they all were, but I didn’t let on that I knew any of them. *laughs* I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction.

Rugby Union - Guinness Series 2013 - Ireland v Australia - Aviva Stadium Brian Lawless Brian Lawless

How do you think being a woman affects your job?

Other women love the fact that they getting a service from another woman. It’s lovely to have conversations about hair, make-up and nails and not just talk about how fabulous the weather is. It’s nice for passengers to have that little female conversation when they’re not expecting it. I think some of the guys like getting a lady driver too.  

What topics have been most discussed in your car in the past week?

The weather, this week. Nothing else much has been on.

What’s been the biggest topic of the summer?

The pope would have been a big topic. Different opinions really, a lot of people were complaining about the price it was costing the country on security especially if the country isn’t religious anymore. I’m not religious myself but I was glad to see him. 

Pope Francis visit to Ireland - Day 2 Joe Giddens Joe Giddens

Did people bring up the 8th Amendment Referendum? 

There wasn’t a lot of talk about the Referendum leading up to it. I think it was very private what people were voting for, unless you were an activist on the issue. Most people seemed to keep their opinions to themselves.

What advice would you give to any woman who is thinking of becoming a taxi driver?

Go for it! You’re your own boss, you work your own hours, you can make your money. It’s very interesting and from one day to the next you don’t know who you will meet. I love it. 

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