Dáil Éireann - Volume 591 - 02 November, 2004
Written Answers. - Taxi Regulations.
Mr. Rabbitte Mr. Rabbitte
158. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Transport the progress made to date with regard to the implementation of the report of the taxi advisory council on new regulations to be introduced to the taxi industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26982/04]
Mr. Cullen Mr. Cullen
Mr. Cullen:By letter dated 24 February 2004 the advisory council to the Commission for Taxi Regulation provided advice to my predecessor, the then Minister, Deputy Brennan, on a number of matters relevant to small public service vehicles and their drivers. The council recommended the removal of the exemption on the wearing of seat belts by the drivers of small public service vehicles, the early commencement of section 37 of the Taxi Regulation Act 2003 which requires small public service vehicle drivers, licence holders and applicants to hold a current tax clearance certificate, and the introduction of a new identification badge for all drivers of small public service vehicles to replace the existing metal badge.
The then Minister, Deputy Brennan, advised the council on 31 March 2004 that he had accepted its advice on these matters and had asked his Department to proceed with the consideration of the proposals in consultation with the Revenue Commissioners, the Garda authorities and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Regulations were made on 22 May 2004 to remove, with effect from 1 July 2004, the exemption whereby the driver of a taxi, hackney or limousine is not required to wear a seat belt while driving such a vehicle.
A ministerial order was signed on 1 June 2004 to commence section 37(1) of the Taxi Regulation Act 2003 with effect from 2 August 2004. From that date a taxi, wheelchair accessible taxi, hackney or limousine licence or a licence to drive such vehicles will not be granted or renewed unless the applicant produces to the licensing authority, that is, the local authority or the Garda as appropriate, a tax clearance certificate issued by the Revenue Commissioners under section 1095 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997.
The proposals in regard to driver identification have been the subject of correspondence with the Garda authorities and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The question of colour coding according to whether a taxi, hackney or limousine service is being provided, however, raises some wider issues, as the current driver licensing system does not differentiate between drivers of different vehicle categories. It was suggested to the Council that this aspect mer ited further consideration by it. I also understand that the taxi regulator, Mr. Ger Deering, intends carrying out a review of all aspects of the taxi industry including the issue of driver identification.
Dáil Éireann 591 Written Answers. Taxi Regulations.