Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Dublin, John Lahart TD has said new laws are urgently required to address the growing concern about the lack of regulation of battery powered rickshaws in Dublin City Centre.

The Deputy was commenting following the launch of a public consultation process by the National Transport Authority (NTA) into establishing new laws for regulating the operation of rickshaws.

“It is estimated that several hundred rickshaws operate in the Dublin city area on any given weekend. They have proved a popular alternative to taxis as most rickshaw drivers negotiate prices on an arbitrary basis, “ the Deputy explained.

“Despite their growing presence and raising concern over the unsafe practices being employed by some rickshaw operators in the city centre, there are currently no regulations in place to provide for the management of rickshaws.

“For the past 12 months or more, my party colleagues and I have been raising the pressing need to develop regulatory policy with the National Transport Authority around rickshaw licensing, insurance, user safety and other matters.

“Under current legislation small public service vehicles are defined as either being pedal powered or mechanically propelled. However, this does not cover rickshaws as they are often battery powered.

“A number of amendments to the Road Traffic Bill 2016 which will regulate for the use of rickshaws have been put forward by Fianna Fáil. These common sense proposals will mean that rickshaws will have to be licenced and drivers can be subject to background checks. The condition and roadworthiness of rickshaws themselves will also be inspected.

“In the same way that motorists, taxi drivers and public transport operators are standardised, we must legislate to help protect the public from unscrupulous rickshaw drivers or operators,” concluded Deputy Lahart.