Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Questions (378, 379, 380, 381)

Derek Nolan

Question:

382 Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if consideration has been given to reducing the number of speculators in the taxi industry by limiting any person’s ownership of a licence to one; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35648/12]

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Derek Nolan

Question:

383 Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if consideration has been given to using funds recently transferred to the National Transport Authority from the taxi regulator to reducing the number of taxi drivers through a licence buy back scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35649/12]

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Derek Nolan

Question:

384 Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he is satisfied that his proposal to prevent the transferring of taxi licences from one owner to another is legally sound; if there is an issue to do with legitimate expectation in view of the fact that purchasers are expected to be able to resell the licences when they purchased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35650/12]

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Brendan Griffin

Question:

385 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35656/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 382 to 385, inclsuive, together.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the regulation of the taxi industry and is also the lead agency with responsibility for implementation of the recommendations of the Taxi Regulation Review Report. The Review Report makes no recommendations on limiting the ownership of a taxi licence as mentioned. Instead the Report focuses on a package of measures designed to enhance standards and encourage professional drivers to operate in the sector.

I have no plans to introduce any financial incentives for individuals to exit the taxi market such as those measures suggested by the Deputy. The use of licence fee income is a matter, for the NTA in the first instance, subject to the requirements of section 50 of the Taxi Regulation Act 2003.

In the case of licence transferrability , a major anomoly was identified in that taxi licences issued prior to January can be sold or transferred on one occasion. It was considered that it was necessary to move away from a system whereby a licence will have value in itself — a licence should determine a person's suitability to carry out a function and it should not have monetary value or be traded on the open market. Action 14 of the Review Report proposes the introduction of a prohibition on the transferability of taxi vehicle licences such that all taxi vehicle licences will be unique to the person to whom the licence has been issued and cannot be transferred or sold to another individual. The legal aspects of the proposal are being examined as part of the implementation process.

I would not be in favour of slogans or other displays on taxis that could be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as inviting the customer to discriminate on racial grounds.