To ask the Minister for Transport when he will make a decision on the proposal by the Office of the Taxi Commissioner for the introduction of a subsidy scheme to assist with the purchase of wheelchair accessible taxis and hackneys; his views on the recent request by the National Taxi Drivers Union for a 50 cent extra surcharge on taxi fares to compensate drivers for spiralling fuel prices; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Jack Wall. (Nominated by: Thomas P. Broughan).
For ORAL answer on Thursday, 6th December, 2007.
Ref No: 32799/07 Lottery: 132
Answered by the Minister for Transport
The Commission for Taxi Regulation published new National Vehicle Standards - Requirements for Small Public Service Vehicles on 26 November 2007, which include new accessible vehicle standards for licensing as wheelchair accessible taxis and wheelchair accessible hackneys.
My Department is in discussion with the Commission for Taxi Regulation in relation to a proposed subsidy arrangement to assist taxi and hackney operators with the purchase of wheelchair accessible vehicles that will meet the new accessible vehicle specification developed by the Commission. The recent announcement of the new accessible vehicle standards by the Commission facilitates further detailed examination of the proposal, which continues to be the subject of discussion with the Commission. A final decision will be made on the subsidy scheme proposal as soon as possible having regard to the overall budgetary context.
Insofar as taxi fares are concerned, section 42 of the Taxi Regulation Act 2003 provides that decisions in relation to the maximum fares that may be charged in any taximeter area are matters for the Commission for Taxi Regulation. I have no function in relation to the setting of these fares.