The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including the setting of maximum fares, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.
Under the Taxi Regulation (Maximum Fares) Order which took effect on 1 February 2018, it is not possible to allow a surcharge to be applied by the SPSV industry to fares, as the Deputy suggests. The Deputy may be aware, that work on the latest NTA Review of the National Maximum Fare is well underway and fuel costs are a major contributor in considering fare increases. The objective of the Review is to determine whether changes need to be made to the current level of maximum fares, in response to market changes facing the taxi industry as well as changes in annual taxi operating costs. The NTA has confirmed that it is endeavouring to conclude the review process as quickly as possible in 2022 whilst still ensuring that all steps, including a consultation process, are appropriately completed.
Recognising that the replacement of a vehicle is the single largest cost faced by any SPSV operator, and in view of my commitment to support the transition of the SPSV fleet towards zero/low-emission vehicles, I announced on February 4th last, the re-opening of the eSPSV Grant Scheme, with a further €15 million allocated to it for 2022. SPSV drivers can apply for grants of up to €10,000 towards the purchase of a new, full-battery eSPSV, with a further €2,500 available to convert it to being wheelchair-accessible. The take-up rate for this Scheme was exceptionally high in 2021: almost 600 drivers successfully applied for grants, with over €11 million paid out as well as €4 million in provisional grant offers. The operation of the Scheme is a matter for the NTA and details of the Scheme are available on the NTA’s website.