Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Taxi Regulations

Photo of Peter FitzpatrickPeter Fitzpatrick (Louth, Independent)
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81. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on current disability services, specifically in relation to access to wheelchair accessible taxis in County Louth and east Meath; if this service is likely to deteriorate due to a shortfall in funding from the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9821/24]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including SPSV licensing, is a matter for the independent transport regulator, the National Transport Authority (NTA), under the provisions of the Consolidated Taxi Regulation Acts 2013 and 2016. I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of the SPSV industry. My colleague, Stephen Donnelly, T.D., Minister for Health, is responsible for the allocation of funds to the HSE.

My Department is committed to making public transport accessible for all, and the NTA has informed me of a number of measures they have taken to improve the availability of wheelchair accessible taxis nationally.

In order to increase the wheelchair accessible vehicle penetration of the SPSV fleet nationwide (taxis, hackneys, and limousines), the NTA introduced S.I. No. 250 of 2010 - Taxi Regulation Act 2003 (Grant of Taxi Licences) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 - in June 2010, to only issue new taxi and hackney licences for wheelchair accessible taxis and hackneys. This S.I. has been supported by wheelchair accessible vehicle grants to assist the industry to convert to or purchase an accessible vehicle.

The NTA introduced a new fixed penalty (fine) for discrimination against service users with a disability, with effect from 1 January 2023. Where there is a refusal of a driver of an SPSV to carry a passenger in a wheelchair, they can be fined NTA's maximum statutory fixed penalty (fine) amount of €250, reflecting the gravity and nature of the offence. The holder of a wheelchair accessible taxi/ hackney licence is required to give priority to bookings in respect of persons with disabilities. As of 31st January 2024, there are 74 wheelchair accessible taxis and one wheelchair accessible hackney active in County Louth and a further 184 wheelchair accessible taxis and one wheelchair accessible hackney in operation in County Meath, according to NTA vehicle statistics.


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