The National Transport Authority (NTA) has confirmed that no taxi driver will be forced out of the sector due to the age of their vehicle but there are still many lingering issues within the industry that need addressed, according to Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond.
Deputy Richmond said: “The NTA have announced their decision to extend eligibility limits on vehicle age limits, which will allow up to 3,750 taxis to remain on the roads and is hugely welcome.
“Previously, taxis could remain in the industry for only 10 years before they reached the end of their life in the industry.
“Taxis due to expire in 2020 were previously given extensions due to the Covid-19 pandemic and these have now been extended once again, allowing them to remain in the industry until 2025 and reaching a lifespan of 15 years.
“This five-year extension will allow the drivers of these taxis to remain in the industry with certainty for years to come.
“Any taxi due to reach its age limit in 2021 or 2022 will receive a four-year extension, those expiring in 2023 or 2024 will have an additional three years eligibility.
“Due to rising costs, global supply chain issues and tightening budgets, most taxi drivers simply cannot afford to replace their vehicles and so would be forced out of the industry had these guidelines not changed
“With this decision, the NTA are displaying their ability to adapt to the requirements of taxi drivers and listen to their needs – this cannot end here.
“This move will make a tangible difference to drivers across the country, but it still does not address the root cause of the lack of taxis across Ireland.
“There are still major issues with the taxi industry that the NTA must address before we will see more taxis on our streets.
“Regular recruitment campaigns, reducing the cost of taxi licenses and airport taxi permits and reducing unnecessary bureaucracy are all easy steps that would make a huge difference to the industry.
“There is no one solution to the issues facing this sector; bold action is needed to reverse its current fate.
“With the darkest evenings of the year now well and truly here, people need the peace of mind that they will be able to get a taxi home after their Christmas night out.
“The NTA must continue this willingness to address the issues within the taxi industry if we are to attract more badly-needed drivers into the ranks,” Deputy Richmond concluded.