Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
1014. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will work with the National Transport Agency to assist taxi drivers who are not operating reduce insurance cover without having to remove their tamper proof discs and resultantly being in the situation of having to have their car rechecked before going back to work once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. [6369/20]
1065. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the supports in place for taxi drivers during Covid-19; if he has made an approach to insurance companies to offset insurance costs for taxi drivers during the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6755/20]
1078. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason a new arrangement of returning discs and cancelling insurance was introduced for the taxi industry for drivers that were forced to stop driving as a result of Covid-19 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6871/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1014, 1065 and 1078 together.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 Emergency and the restrictions introduced as part of the necessary public health response, passenger demand for SPSV services has fallen radically and many SPSV operators have stopped working. The NTA has therefore taken action to reduce the immediate financial burden on SPSV operators and to make it easier for them to return to the industry when circumstances change.
The NTA has engaged with the insurance industry to facilitate a suspension of SPSV insurance for those SPSV operators who decide to temporarily stop working and suspend their licences. Operators who avail of this facility will be able to either reduce their monthly premium or receive a refund from their insurer, depending on their individual arrangements with their insurer.
To avail of this insurance reduction, SPSV operators must temporarily suspend their SPSV licences. Since the start of April about 5% of SPSV licences have been suspended. The suspension of a licence requires the removal and return of a vehicle’s tamper-proof discs to the NTA in accordance with section 17 of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013. A tamper-proof disc is evidence that an SPSV is genuine with a valid licence and appropriate insurance. It would therefore be inappropriate for an SPSV to display such a disc if its licence and insurance was suspended.
The NTA is keen to facilitate the swift return to work of any SPSV operator who wishes to reactivate their licence following a temporary suspension. I am informed that the NTA has a team available nationwide to reapply tamper-proof discs free of charge, that the process takes only minutes, and that a suitability inspection will not be required to apply duplicate tamper-proof discs to an SPSV.