Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (638)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

638. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he supports a reduction of standards in place for wheelchair accessible SPSVs and the proposal that back-loading wheelchair accessible taxis could be used as a cheaper option to current models. [15187/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The regulation of the taxi industry, including issues pertaining to the standards of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs), is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the Public Transport Regulation Act, 2009. The NTA is the lead agency with responsibility for implementation of the recommendations of the Taxi Regulation Review Report 2011.

The Taxi Regulation Review made a number of recommendations aimed at addressing the lack of availability of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) to meet the transport requirements of people with a disability and reduced mobility. In particular, Action 20 recommended a review of existing specifications for WAVs to establish whether an adjustment to the current WAV standards would assist in increasing the supply and availability of WAVs.

The Taxi Regulation Act 2013 was signed into law on 23rd of October 2013 and while most of its provisions have yet to be commenced, the NTA has prepared draft regulations under the Act that will introduce some new measures, as well as consolidating and replacing the existing regulations. The draft regulations, including provisions relating to vehicle standards for WAVs aimed at introducing a wider range of lower cost vehicles thereby assisting in supply and availability, were the subject of a public consultation process that concluded on 31st January 2014.

It is expected that the new regulations will be introduced in tandem with the commencement of the Act in April 2014.

I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Will the Deputy please advise my private office if he does not receive a response within ten working days.