Thursday, 7 March 2013

Questions (262, 263)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

262. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport the current number of SPSV licence holders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12048/13]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

263. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport the number of enforcement officers attached to the National Transport Authority to invigilate the taxi sector; the number of enforcement officers as a percentage of the total number of taxi licence holders, that is, the number of enforcement officers per head of the taxi population; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12049/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 262 and 263 together.

I am informed by the National Transport Authority (NTA) that the current number of SPSV driver licence holders is 33,717 and there are currently 22,830 SPSV vehicle licences. There are eight enforcement officers in the NTA. An Garda Síochána also plays a major part in the enforcement regime. 

Concerning ‘on street’ enforcement specifically, there has been very good cooperation between An Garda Síochána and the NTA. The NTA carried out over fourteen and a half thousand on-street vehicle checks as part of their enforcement activities during 2012. In addition, An Garda Síochána also carried out a significant number of vehicle checks on small public service vehicles, both as part of joint operations carried out in conjunction with the NTA and as part of their normal road traffic policing activities. The NTA is currently drafting an enforcement plan for 2013 which will be coordinated with An Garda Síochána's policing plan for 2013. That will assist with continued co-operation during 2013. 

In addition, under Actions 21 and 25 of the Taxi Regulation Review Report published last year, Garda powers are to be extended to allow members of An Garda Síochána to issue fixed charged notices with respect to 11 additional SPSV fixed charge offences. The Taxi Regulation Bill 2012 specifically provides for this and will  further support measures to ensure that operators and drivers can operate under a robust regulatory framework supported by an effective enforcement regime. The Bill passed the Committee Stage in the Seanad on the 27th February last. Following enactment of the Taxi Regulation Bill later this year, I envisage a significant stepping-up of the enforcement effort with regard to the taxi regulations.