Wednesday, 28 January 2004

Questions (28)

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

134 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport his views on whether a person who uses a wheelchair for mobility, when not driving a car, can be considered to be a fit and proper person to whom a hackney licence can be issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2107/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

The licensing and operation of small public service vehicles, including hackneys, is governed by the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations 1963 to 2002. There are separate requirements for the granting of a hackney licence in respect of the vehicle and the granting of a small public service vehicle driver's licence in respect of the driver of the hackney.

A hackney licence may be granted by the local licensing authority in respect of a particular vehicle following the presentation of a vehicle test certificate and a certificate of suitability issued in respect of the vehicle by the national car testing service, NCTS, demonstration that the use of the vehicle as a hackney is covered by insurance and the payment of the appropriate licensing fee of €250. Accordingly, a person who uses a wheelchair could be granted a hackney vehicle licence, subject to compliance with these requirements.

A hackney may only be driven by a person who holds a current small public service vehicle driver's licence. Under the public service vehicles regulations, the consideration of applications for the grant of a small public service vehicle driver's licence is administered by the Garda Commissioner. Applicants are required to have a current driving licence and must satisfy the Garda Commissioner that they are a fit and proper person to hold a licence to drive a small public service vehicle, that they have an adequate knowledge of general traffic regulations, the regulations relating to small public service vehicles and the area in which they propose to make services available as a driver of a small public service vehicle. In these circumstances, it is a matter for decision by the Garda Commissioner as to the fitness of each individual applicant to be licensed to drive a small public service vehicle.