Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1563)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony


1563. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to regulate insurance costs for hackney drivers that are starting out, particularly in rural areas in which public transport is very limited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35097/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Insurance companies are private companies and the pricing of insurance products is a commercial issue for those companies. Neither a Government Minister, nor the Central Bank (which regulates the insurance industry generally) has the power to direct insurance companies on the pricing of insurance products. This position is reinforced by the EU framework for insurance which expressly prohibits Member States from adopting rules which require insurance companies to obtain prior approval of the pricing or terms and conditions of insurance products.

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry - which encompasses taxis, hackneys and limousines, and for the management of the Rural Transport Programme which now operates under the Local Link brand.

The NTA has recently announced that it is embarking on two pilot schemes to test possible approaches to addressing some of the needs of people living in rural areas with particularly limited transport options: these are the Designated Local Area Hackney pilot scheme and the Community Transport Service pilot. In light of the NTA's initiatives in this area, I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.