Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (683)

Joe McHugh


683. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason for the new clocking in system that obtains for taxi drivers; the reason for a uniform national system; if he acknowledges the potential benefits of a system that would acknowledge regional differences within the industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12889/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The view of the Taxi Regulation Review Group, giving rise to Action 40 of the Review Report, is that it is necessary to have a system that links SPSV licenced drivers to specific small public service vehicles (SPSVs) so that the identification of the authorised driver of an SPSV is available in real time.  This is in the general interest of consumers who use taxis and for enforcement officers regulating the taxi industry. 

From the end of January 2013 it became a requirement that all SPSV operators notify the National Transport Authority (NTA) about the vehicles they are operating at any time. This is a once-off notification in the case of SPSV drivers who own their own vehicle.  Any changes such as with respect to rental agreements or change of vehicle will also need to be notified.

I understand that the NTA has made available free IT tools to facilitate the notification process - the "Taxi Industry Portal" smartphone application can be downloaded onto both Apple and Android smartphones. In addition, SPSV operators can use any PC or laptop to access the Taxi Portal over the Internet. A call centre also operates all-day every-day to take notifications by telephone.

Given the rationale underpinning this system it is not clear to me that there is any case for a different approach on a regional basis.