Ross introduces new detention powers to enforce ban on motorised rickshaws

Rickshaw cyclists face new licensing and vetting rules as motorised rickshaws banned

New detention powers on the way: above, undercover members of the Garda Síochána search a rickshaw driver in Dublin last year. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

New detention powers on the way: above, undercover members of the Garda Síochána search a rickshaw driver in Dublin last year. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

New laws will enforce a total ban on motorised rickshaws and require all rickshaw cyclists to be licensed in a manner similar to taxi drivers.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has announced an amendment to the Taxi Regulation Act 2013 that will improve the regulation of rickshaws, particularly in Dublin city centre.

Mr Ross obtained approval for the new legislation at the weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. It follows on from a survey conducted by the National Transport Authority in 2017 which highlighted serious public concerns with this form of public transport, which has grown informally over the past decade.

“I am acutely aware of the dangers posed by rickshaws on our streets” said Mr Ross after bringing the draft general scheme to Cabinet.

He said the legislation will introduce new detention powers, which will ensure effective enforcement of a ban on motorised rickshaws carrying passengers for reward, since these are the faster vehicles which create the greater risks.

The new Bill will also give powers to the National Transport Authority to introduce a licensing regime for non-motorised rickshaws only.

The provisions will largely mirror existing licensing and enforcement requirements for taxis including: vehicle checking and registration; driver vetting and registration; requirements regarding insurance; and fare regulation.

“These new measures will ensure that rickshaw drivers and vehicles are vetted and registered and I am confident that this will significantly improve safety for passengers and for all road users,” said Mr Ross.

“The new approach will also enhance customer experience and help improve the ambiance in our city centres, bringing further benefits for tourism and local businesses.”

A key component of the new framework will be to ensure that a ban on motorised rickshaws carrying passengers is effectively enforced with the introduction of comprehensive new detention powers. These powers will permit an authorised officer to remove a vehicle for further examination.

The National Transport Agency survey identified a number of public safety concerns related to rickshaws.

An overwhelming majority wanted rickshaw operators to have a specific licence, as well as to be Garda vetted and have liability insurance.

The new regime will also feature regular checks of the rickshaws to ensure they are roadworthy and have adequate safety features.

In an information note, the department said: “Since enforcement difficulties have been identified in the context of the rickshaw sector, the general scheme will provide stronger detention powers for authorised officers. 

“This will help ensure compliance, including enforcing a ban on motorised rickshaws from carrying passengers for reward as well as ensuring that all drivers of non-motorised rickshaws, as well as their vehicles, are appropriately licensed.”