Deregulation has had a negative impact on the taxi industry and the industry standards according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Timmy Dooley. His comments follow on from the Primetime Investigates programme which highlighted several major problems in the industry, including taxi drivers illegally holding multiple licences, criminals holding taxi licences and unfit vehicles being passed by the National Car Testing Service (NCT).
“The Primetime Investigates programme has really shone a light on some of the major problems that exist within the taxi industry,” said Deputy Dooley. “While the vast majority of taxis and taxi drivers are responsible people who are keenly aware and observant of the regulations, this programme has highlighted that some major flaws do exist within the industry.”
“It is not acceptable to have criminals operating taxis when they shouldn’t be. It is not acceptable that it takes an RTÉ undercover reporter to bring to light the fact that some taxi drivers are illegally holding multiple licences. The regulator and the industry should be completely on top of these issues and there should be stronger measures in place to prevent these kind of problems happening.”
“I welcome the decision by the Government to undertake a review of the industry, but we need further clarity as to what they are proposing. What will be the terms of reference of the review? What is the scope of the review? Who will be tasked with conducting it? These are major factors that we need to hear about in advance of the review being undertaken. There needs to be confidence that this review will address the problems and that will only happen if we understand what is going to happen next.”
“I also think the review should look at the whole issue of deregulation and the impact it has had on the industry. In my opinion it has lead to a dropping of standards throughout the taxi industry and that is having a negative impact on taxi drivers and the general public. When you look at the revelations contained in the Primetime programme, you have to wonder if the deregulation process has played a part in creating the circumstances that allow these problems arise.”
“It also serves as a warning to Government about the dangers behind deregulation. This is something they will need to bear in mind as they go about looking at opening up the bus industry to greater competition,” Deputy Dooley concluded.