Delays to Taxis Act Frustrates Assembly Committee

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 23 March 2011

Reference: ENV 12/10/11

The Assembly Committee for the Environment has expressed its disappointment that the Department of the Environment is to delay implementing the Taxis Act.

Committee Chairperson Cathal Boylan MLA, said: “When pressed by the Committee, the Minister of the Environment gave a commitment on 18 November 2010 that he would bring forward implementation of the Taxis Act which became law in 2008. None of the Act has been implemented to date and today we hear that it is to be delayed further. This is extremely disappointing.

“It would now appear that the Department’s consultation was flawed and it wishes to go back and consult again. The Act includes an Operator Licencing System which requires people who run a taxi business to register themselves, as well as registering the vehicles used by the business.

“There is total confusion over the type of businesses to be covered by this new licencing, specifically whether it should include funeral and wedding car businesses. There also now appears to be criticism over the idea of operator licencing and over the level of fees the Department wishes to charge.

“While the Committee can appreciate the Department wanting to go back to taxi businesses and other operators to discuss these issues, it is the Committee’s view that this should have been done a long time ago. The Committee has already criticised the Department for bringing forward legislation in a rush and then not implementing it – Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act is another example.

“What we are left with now is a piece of law not being put into practice, confusion amongst businesses and an ongoing problem with how to police illegal taxi operators.”

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