5,000 taxi inspections carried out each month, regulator says

Issuing of warning to female passengers after fake sign incident ‘over the top’, taxi group says

Some 5,000 random checks a month are carried out on taxi drivers and their vehicles, the taxi regulator has confirmed following the arrest of a man using a fake taxi roof sign in Dublin.

Gardaí in the Dublin Metropolitan Region traffic corps stopped what they described as a bogus taxi at Bride Street in Dublin 8, at about 10pm last Friday as he was driving a woman home.

The driver had no tax, insurance or NCT and was also driving without a licence. The man, who is in his 30s, was arrested and brought to Kevin Street Garda station. He was later released and is due to appear before Dublin District Court later this month charged in connection with the investigation.

Neither gardaí nor the National Transport Authority, which regulates taxis, would comment further on the case as the man had been charged.


It is understood the driver in question had previously been Garda vetted and licensed as a taxi driver. The vehicle in question is also understood to have been previously licensed, but it was not at the time of detection.

A spokeswoman for the NTA said it had significantly ramped up its compliance team after new legislation came into force in 2014. It carried out about 5,000 random checks a month, not just on taxi ranks or in cities, but all over the country. “It’s pretty busy and it’s pretty full-on,” she said.

The NTA prosecuted 99 individuals last year where the vehicle, the driver or both were not licensed. This was normally rectified on detection, the spokeswoman said.


Joe Herron, president of the Irish Taxi Drivers' Federation, said taxi representative bodies did not like such stories "one little bit" but they were "totally unusual".

“This has happened so rarely I can’t remember the last time that it happened,” he said. “I know the Rape Crisis Centre issued a warning to women but I think that’s very much over the top, to be honest.

“There are, I think, around 30 enforcement officers. Some of them work directly for the NTA and some of them are on contract. Between them and the guards, this doesn’t happen – you’re not going to get away with it.”

The federation has “a couple of thousand” members, Mr Herron said.

He said intending passengers would recognise a legitimate taxi from its roof sign and number and the driver identification displayed inside the car on the dashboard. The could also download the NTA’s Driver Check app to verify a driver’s details on their phone.