Proposals to restructure taxi industry

BUS and taxi lanes cannot be opened for everyone to use, taxi drivers warned yesterday as proposals to restructure the industry were announced. Commenting on plans to open these lanes for hackneys and chauffeurs, the National Taxi Drivers’ Union warned against them.

“You can buy a hackney licence for €250 so what’s the point in having bus lanes if everybody in the country is going to be in them,” said president Tommy Gorman.

The recommendations were announced by the Commissioner for Taxi Regulation, Ger Deering, have been generally welcomed by the taxi unions but they do admit that there are some things “we are going to have to talk about.”

“These recommendations will make it a more professional business and we’ve been calling for many of these things to happen for a long time,” said Mr Gorman.

“In September we’ll go to the Commissioner with our own shopping list in answer to his one. He hasn’t closed the door on this and we are happy about that.”

Cars will be made more disability friendly as part of the reforms.

Mr Deering said: “Currently many taxi, hackney and limousine drivers and operators provide an excellent service.

“Some, however, provide a sub-standard service and there are issues of non-compliance that require attention.”

The recommendations are the result of the most extensive review of taxi, hackney and limousine services and vehicle standards in Ireland.

The changes will begin early next year on a phased basis and should be fully in place by 2008.

The first set of changes will include a customer charter, a complaints procedure which will be processed through the office of the commissioner, and a new fares system.

Talking metres to assist people with impaired hearing, a swivelling front passenger seat for people with mobility issues and a bright yellow door handle for people with visual difficulties have all been proposed to better facilitate those with disabilities.

A training programme will be introduced for new recruits with a refresher course for existing drivers.

Mr Gorman said: “It’s about time that drivers will have proper training, we’ve been requesting that some form of training programme be put in place for a while now.”

The recommendations have now gone to public consultation and any submissions will be considered up to September 26.

The Commission for Taxi Regulation was established as an Independent Public Body by the Minister for Transport in September last year. .

The Commission for Taxi Regulation proposes to make changes in relation to a number of issues. Full details in relation to the Commissions proposed changes and consultation documents are available for download here



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