Public Transport Junior Minister Alan Kelly has announced the introduction of a new suite of regulations for the taxi sector set to come into force this month, along with the commencement of a comprehensive enforcement programme known as ‘Operation Taximeter’.
The new regulations will include mandatory area knowledge tests for drivers with a history of poor local knowledge, continuous tax compliance monitoring, and restrictions on stamp 2 visa holders from operating a taxi, as well as a maximum payment charge for credit/debit card holders.
The regulations, which will be introduced and overseen by the National Transport Authority, will also see an amendment to the specifications for wheelchair accessible taxis making them more affordable.
“The taxi market relies on consumer confidence in a safe, reliable and high quality SPSV service. I believe that the new regulations will ensure that consumers will have that confidence in the sector and the taxi drivers that do their jobs professionally will be rewarded by the market. The new standards for wheelchair accessible vehicles will reduce the costs of purchasing wheelchair accessible taxis significantly and make more available for people with mobility impairments,” stated Minister Kelly.
The new regulations coincide with the appointment of fifteen new taxi enforcement officers as part of ‘Operation Taximeter’. The operation will target both urban centers and rural towns to address unlicensed operators and licensed operators not complying with the new Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV) regulations.
“I am determined that those who attempt to flout the law will be pursued and face the consequences. This move will see the number of enforcement officers treble, rising from eight to twenty-three. Enforcement is the most significant issue that taxi drivers raise when I meet them and we are pursuing a more rigorous way,” the Minister said.
“The taxi sector is a vital part of the country’s transport system and it has to be held to a high standard. I am satisfied that significant improvements over the last three years means that we have a better sector for both consumers and drivers.”