To ask the Minister for Transport the steps which he plans to take in order to introduce proper standards into the taxi business to ensure that only suitable persons obtain a licence to operate and to ensure that a proper standard of service is available from those who are licensed; and that best practice standards are applied to the delivery of the service in Dublin.
- Richard Bruton.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 25th May, 2004.
Ref No: 15674/04
Answered by the Minister of Transport
In accordance with a commitment under the Agreed Programme for Government, the Taxi Regulation Act 2003 was enacted in July 2003 to provide a legislative basis for the establishment of a Commission for Taxi Regulation and an Advisory Council to the Commission for Taxi Regulation. This legislation followed amending regulations made in 2002 to provide for the phased introduction of a taximeter printer requirement for taxis to issue printed fare receipts.
This independent Commission will provide a central focus of responsibility for the future policy direction needed to support,develop and improve the services provided by taxis and other small public service vehicles and their drivers in Dublin and nationally. The emphasis will be on new qualitative standards and enhanced service.
Following a recent competition for the post of Commissioner for Taxi Regulation, I hope to be in a position to establish the Commission and appoint a Commissioner in the coming months.
The Taxi Regulation Act 2003 also facilitates the replacement of the current regulatory system applying to the licensing and operation of small public service vehicles and their drivers, and the development, under the auspices of the Commission for Taxi Regulation, of new qualitative standards relating to the operation and driving of small public service vehicles. It will be open to the Commission for Taxi Regulation to bring forward changes to the existing vehicle requirements and driver vetting procedures that currently apply under the public service vehicle regulations.
In line with this qualitative focus, I have indicated to the Advisory Council to the Commission for Taxi Regulation, which I established in November 2003, that I am particularly interested in their advice on issues relating to quality enhancement and standards for small public service vehicles and their drivers, including general vehicle condition and appearance, accessibility, standard vehicle colour for taxis and driver training. I have recently received advice from the Council on issues such as seatbelt wearing by small public service vehicle drivers, tax clearance and driver identification. I have decided to accept this advice and the necessary orders and regulations are being progressed in my Department.