As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. However, the regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.
My Department continues to support the development of an integrated, accessible public transport network and a target has been set for the full taxi and hackney fleet to be wheelchair accessible by 2035.
Since 2010, in order to support an increase in the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs), the NTA has only granted new licences for taxis or hackneys in respect of WAVs. To supplement this measure, the NTA administers a WAV Grant Scheme, which offers grants on a sliding scale from €2,500 to €7,500. The scheme aims to assist with the cost difference in purchasing a WAV or converting a vehicle to fulfill the WAV requirements. This scheme is open to all SPSV drivers, with grants offered on a first-come-first-served basis.
The NTA, as the Regulator, set the standards for entry to the SPSV sector with a view to protecting the public interest and ensuring public safety and consumer protection. All prospective drivers and dispatch operators applying to enter the industry are subject to the same rules and conditions thus ensuring a level playing field.
I remain committed to increasing the number of WAVs within our SPSV fleet and supporting the NTA in the administration of the WAV Grant Scheme.