New taxi laws on way to protect passengers
A new licensing system for Northern Ireland’s 10,000 taxi drivers who operate individually is to be in place by this autumn, the Assembly has been told.
Environment Minister Alex Attwood also revealed that some ‘supersize’ taxi firms have up to 600 or 700 taxis on their books.
“The purpose, given the scale of the taxi industry, is to regulate and protect the consumer,” he said.
Questioned by Ulster Unionist Danny Kinahan, the SDLP MLA added: “We will not end up with supersized taxi firms as a consequence of the legislation having created a monopoly situation.”
“I confirm that the intention is that a taxi operator licensing system will be in place by 31 October,” he said.
“The taxi business is fragmented. We reckon that there are some 10,000 taxi drivers who can operate individually. There are also supersized firms, some of which have an affiliation of 500, 600 or even 700 taxis.”
Mr Attwood said in an attempt to help smaller operators the fee for those who are registering as taxi operators in the two months up to the end of October would be reduced from £140 to £40.