Government to review taxi industry

 

The Government has announced it is to carry out a full review of the taxi industry.

The Minister for Public Transport and Commuter Policy Alan Kelly made the announcement following a meeting with the NTA (National Transport Authority) this morning in reaction to allegations on an RTÉ Prime Time programme last night.

Mr Kelly said the review is to “clean up the appalling practices” in some areas of the industry.

Among the items under review include the role of the gardaí in policing the industry and the system of monitoring and regulation of licenses.

The terms of the review will be drawn up in three-four weeks at its findings are expected to be published within four months.

Mr Kelly said while the “vast majority” of drivers are legitimate operators their business is suffering as they are competing with people not operating within the regulations.

“I suspect that the majority of taxi drivers were not surprised by the revelations on the taxi industry last night,” he said.

Among the revelations in last night’s programme was the apparent fraudulent practise at a National Car Testing (NCT) centre in Dublin showing taxis passing an NCT test apparently in return for money.

Applus, the company that runs the NCT has said it will “vigorously investigate” allegations of fraud at its centres and has reported the matter to the gardaí.

In a statement released this morning Applus said the NCT is operated to the highest international standards and takes the issue of vehicle safety and fraud “very seriously”.

“The NCT represents a microcosm of Irish society and it is a disappointing reflection, if any employee can be tempted into committing such serious fraud for personal financial gain.

"Nevertheless, like many businesses which rely on employee integrity, we are very aware of the potential for fraudulent acts.”

“These individuals are not only putting their own employment at risk, but are creating real danger by allowing potentially defective vehicles back on our roads.”

Applus said it has asked the State broadcaster to provide details of the allegations and has reported the matter to the gardaí.

Meanwhile, director for taxi regulation Kathleen Doyle said while her office is not in charge of checking the safety of the vehicles or vetting the drivers 290 people have been prosecuted since 2007 for various offences including not displaying the correct licence.