Public Consultation on Draft Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) (2) Regulation 2020

NTA is responsible for regulation of the Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV) industry in Ireland. As part of this regulatory function, and in accordance with Sections 7 and 20 of the Taxi Regulation Acts 2013 & 2016, NTA may make regulations in respect of the type and age of a vehicle which may be used as an SPSV. The Taxi Regulation (Small Public Service Vehicle) Regulations 2015 specify the “maximum permissible age” limits for operating a vehicle as an SPSV.

The “maximum permissible age” in this context means the age of a vehicle beyond which that vehicle may not be licensed as an SPSV of the relevant vehicle licence category. Once a vehicle reaches its final operation date, the licence holder may not apply to the Authority for the renewal of a vehicle licence on that vehicle. A younger replacement vehicle must be purchased, and both a roadworthiness test (NCT) and an SPSV initial suitability test completed.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and following a public consultation in April 2020, NTA made an exceptional legal provision, the Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) Regulation 2020, to temporarily amend Regulation 31 of the Taxi Regulation (Small Public Service Vehicle) Regulations 2015, Maximum Permissible Age Requirements. The temporary amendment was enacted on 19 May 2020 and related to a period up to 31 December 2020.

As at 09 October, the SPSV fleet comprised 22,020 taxis, hackneys and limousines in active and inactive licence status (i.e. eligible to be renewed). Having regard the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, and in order to mitigate the enduring adverse economic consequences to the SPSV industry resulting from the spread of that disease, NTA proposes a further exceptional COVID-19 provision, the Draft Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) (2) Regulation 2020, in relation to maximum permissible age limits.

The purpose of the Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) (2) Regulation 2020 is to temporarily amend Regulation 31 of the Taxi Regulation (Small Public Service Vehicle) Regulations 2015, Maximum Permissible Age Requirements, up to and including 31 December 2021. This amendment is intended to be made as an exceptional provision and emergency measure resultant from the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that public transport, specifically including small public service vehicles, is deemed by Government an essential service. It relates to the 2,480 fleet vehicles which will reach their end of life by the end of 2021.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated extraordinary economic circumstances being experienced by the regulated industry, we consider extending the Maximum Permissible Age Requirements by one (1) year for expiry dates to 31 December 2021 worthy of public consultation. The draft regulation is timebound and will automatically fall away after that date. Once this COVID-19 regulation has reached its end date, Regulation 31 of the Taxi Regulation (Small Public Service Vehicle) Regulations 2015 and the maximum permissible ages therein will apply.

The Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) (2) Regulation 2020 will repeal the Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) Regulation 2020 which was enacted in May 2020. Those licensed SPSVs which received an extension to their maximum permissible age under the Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) Regulation 2020, will not receive a further extension.

The result of the changes to Regulation 31 of the Taxi Regulation (Small Public Service Vehicle) Regulations 2015 would, for 2,480 vehicles licences expiring to 31 December 2021, be that the associated vehicle would remain eligible to be licenced, all other obligations met, as follows:

1. standard taxi/hackney and local area hackney until 11 years from the date of first registration of the vehicle;
2. wheelchair accessible taxi/hackney until 16 years from the date of first registration of the vehicle; and
3. certain other very limited standalone cases until 16 years from the date of first registration of the vehicle.

Draft Regulation

Draft Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) (2) Regulation 2020

Thank you for expressing your interest in the Public Consultation on Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) (2) Draft Regulation 2020. The closing date for submissions was 17:00 on Thursday 12 November.

All submissions must include the full name and email address of the person making the submission. NTA is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and, therefore, must consider any request for information made under that Act. Any submissions received may be published.

Public Consultation Report on Draft Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) (2) Regulation 2020