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A taxi rank in Dublin Eamonn Farrell via Photocall Ireland

Major clean up of 'disturbing' taxi industry practices underway

Minister for Public Transport and Commuter Policy, Alan Kelly, has announced the details of a review of the taxi industry that is to get underway immediately.

IRELAND’S PUBLIC TRANSPORT and Commuter Policy Minister, Alan Kelly, met with the National Transport Authority this morning about the  Prime Time Investigates programme on disturbing practices in the taxi industry.

Minister Kelly announced following the meeting that he will be conducting a full-scale review of the industry to ensure better safety for consumers and regulation for drivers.

The minister commented:

A review of all matters relating to the taxi industry is already underway for a number of weeks. The scope of the review is being written currently and will be published within the next three to four weeks. The idea behind the review is to clean up the appalling practices that take place in some areas of the taxi industry.

He added that the drive to clean up these bad practices is coming from taxi-drivers themselves and that the vast majority of drivers are legitimate operators “but their businesses are suffering because they are competing with people not operating within the regulations”.

Last night’s Prime Time Investigates report demonstrates clearly that it is too easy to operate outside the current industry regulations. The taxi industry has not been politically prioritised and both consumers and legitimate drivers have suffered as a result.

The review will look at:

  • The role of the Gardai in terms of taxi regulation. Currently Gardai do not have full powers to penalise taxi-drivers for lack of adherence to regulations and this will be examined under the review.
  • The system of monitoring and regulation of licenses. Minister Kelly said this “is not stringent enough and criminals with serious convictions are being allowed to operate legitimately”.
  • There will also be an update of security features contained within drivers IDs and licences to enhance compliance.
  • Whether current regulations are good enough if enforced properly or if new legislation is required.
  • The knowledge standards and geographical knowledge of drivers and whether law changes may be required for retrospective geography changes.
  • The regulations surrounding vehicle standards and how they are enforced.
  • The transfer of licences.
  • Working hours undertaken by taxi drivers. “We could explore different types of licences, such as day or night, or geographical area licences to ensure adherence to the highest standards of safety and customer service.”

Minister Kelly said that the Government “will be prioritising the regulation of the taxi-industry” and that he and Minister Leo Varadkar will ensure that the review of the industry allows consumers have confidence in the taxi system while legitimate drivers can make a decent living by operating within the necessary rules and regulations.

Strong response to Prime Time exposé on criminality and corruption in taxi industry>

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