I have no plans to bring forward further legislative changes in the area of taxi regulation. The Taxi Regulation Act, 2013, was enacted on the 23rd October 2013. The majority of its provisions have yet to be commenced but I expect to commence those sections this month in tandem with new Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV) regulations prepared by the National Transport Authority (NTA). These SPSV regulations will introduce new measures provided for under the Act, as well as consolidating and replacing the existing regulations.
The Taxi Regulation Act 2013 legally underpins many of the actions recommended by the Taxi Regulation Review Report 2011. The aim of the 2011 Review was to allow consumers to have confidence in the taxi system while also ensuring that legitimate and competent operators and drivers can be rewarded fairly by operating in a regulatory framework that is adequately enforced. The 2013 Act provides a robust framework for the implementation of the key enforcement measures proposed under the Taxi Review, including making provision for a range of offences for contravention of the provisions of the Act and the regulations made thereunder, mandatory disqualification from holding a licence upon having a serious criminal conviction, a demerit system to deal with recurrent breaches of the SPSV regulations and powers for the NTA to enter into agreements with service providers for the purpose of increasing enforcement capacity and capability.
In relation to the issue of a cost benefit analysis, I am advised that the NTA, which has responsibility for the regulation of the SPSV industry under the provisions of the Public Transport Regulation Act 2009, intends to conduct a fare review later this year and that as part of that review it will gather and publish information on driver income. The Authority also publishes information on SPSV vehicle and driver licences which are an indicator as to whether the industry is expanding or contracting. This should provide some assistance to persons considering market entry.