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Laura Hu

Taxis will have to take shortest route under proposed laws

The proposed bill would also mean that people found guilty of certain offences would be automatically disqualified from holding a taxi licence.

TAXI DRIVERS WILL be legally required to take the shortest route possible under new legislation to be debated in the Dáil in the new year.

The Taxi Regulation Bill 2012 is being published to restate and revise the Taxi Regulation Act 2003. It would provide for mandatory disqualification from holding a licence if people are convicted of specified offences, including certain offences under the Road Transport Act, the Sexual Offences (Jurisdiction) Act, and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act.

The bill would enable the National Transport Authority to authorise the use of cameras and CCTV for the enforcement of taxi regulations and for use as evidence in court proceedings.

The bill would also cease the granting of taxi licenses from the Garda Síochána, leaving it in the hands of the National Transport Authority.

Under the bill, taxi drivers would have to determine and stick to the shortest route available when hired, and also ensure they can facilitate the needs of any person with mobility, sensory or other difficulties.

The bill also provides that it would be an offence for a person not to disclose to the licensing authority information about their physical or mental capacity to hold a licence.

Dispatch operators must also be licenced to do so. The bill will provide that it is an offence for a driver to charge over and above a fare that is agreed before the journey commences.

A passenger cannot be unreasonably refused by a taxi driver, with some exceptions.

The bill will be debated by the Dáil at the beginning of 2013.

Read: 500 taxi drivers protest in Dublin city centre>

Read: Taxi drivers to protest review of fare structure>

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