I propose to take Questions Nos. 720 and 721 together.
The regulation of the taxi industry, including issues pertaining to vehicle age limit, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the Taxi Regulation Act, 2003. The NTA is also the lead agency with responsibility for implementation of the recommendations of the Taxi Regulation Review Report 2011.
The NTA carried out a consultation on vehicle standards as part of the Taxi Regulation Review in 2011 which recommends strengthening vehicle standards. Action 10 of the Review Report recommended that the 9 year vehicle age limit should apply at licence issue or renewal for all new taxi or hackney vehicles entering the fleet. Vehicle licences issued since January 2009 have been on the basis of a 9-year age limit on the vehicle. Existing vehicles in the fleet licensed prior to 1 January 2009 can operate up to 14 years of age subject to 6-monthly NCT testing and NTA licence renewal assessment.
The aim of these measures is to promote vehicle standards so as to improve passenger and road safety. It is envisaged that, over time, all vehicles older than nine years will be removed from the taxi and hackney fleet. The NTA made revised vehicle standards regulations in this regard under Statutory Instrument No. 48 of 2013.