I am keenly aware of the importance of protecting the safety of our small public service vehicle (SPSV) drivers. In this regard, there are currently a number of offences for passengers, or intending passengers, set under the Taxi Regulation Act 2013. Furthermore, under SPSV regulations made by the regulator, the National Transport Authority (NTA), a driver may refuse to carry a disorderly or abusive passenger.
Earlier this year, the NTA launched a “Taxi Driver Respect” public awareness campaign advocating respect for taxi drivers. It illustrates how taxi drivers can be anyone – a family member or a friend and, as such, deserve our respect.
While the NTA is the regulator of the SPSV sector, if an incident of a criminal nature is brought to the NTA’s attention, they will refer it to An Garda Síochána. It is An Garda Síochána who investigate offences of this type – not the NTA. Furthermore, as the Deputy is aware, legislation relating to matters of a criminal nature and enforcement against same is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality.