Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Questions (383, 384, 385)

Finian McGrath

Question:

387 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way he will be dealing with the 23% of oversupply in the taxi industry. [35743/12]

View answer

Finian McGrath

Question:

388 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the nine year rule is destroying the livelihood of full time taxi drivers. [35744/12]

View answer

Finian McGrath

Question:

389 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason full time independent taxi drivers were excluded from the review body. [35745/12]

View answer

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

I propose to take Questions Nos. 387 to 389, inclusive, together.

As part of the Taxi Regulation Review in 2011, the independent consultants, Indecon, were engaged to carry out an economic analysis of the taxi market. The Indecon analysis indicated that a problem of over-supply caused by fall in demand in the previous 3-4 years was not being matched by a corresponding level of market exit.

The Taxi Review Group agreed that the future approach to taxi regulation was to improve standards and to strengthen enforcement of the taxi regulations and did not justify imposing quantitative restrictions on the sector. The programme of reform outlined in the Report is designed to raise standards and to curb non-compliance thereby leading to a level playing field for legitimate operators in the sector. It is intended that the effect of the Report reforms will be to assist in tackling contributory factors to oversupply in the sector and to create a more vigorously regulated market that will reward legitimate operators and give consumers more confidence in the taxi market.

The Taxi Review Group was composed of representatives from the key stakeholder groups — representing consumers and the taxi industry, including dispatch operators, full-time taxi drivers and vehicle licence holders.

As to the so-called "nine year rule", last year the National Transport Authority (NTA) carried out a public consultation on vehicle standards, which included vehicle age. The outcome of the consultation was made available for the consideration of the Taxi Regulation Review Group. Action 10 of the Taxi Regulation Review Report proposes that existing vehicles in the fleet prior to 1st January 2009, should be allowed to operate until they are a maximum of 14 years of age, subject to passing a roadworthiness test and an NTA licence renewal assessment at six monthly intervals for vehicles that are nine years or older. Action 10 is being implemented by the NTA.