To assist the SPSV industry as it endeavours to withstand the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister for Transport announced a waiver of ‘standard’ vehicle licence renewal fees during 2021, in his budget speech last October. NTA commenced a public consultation immediately afterwards to enact the emergency regulation needed to give effect to the Minister’s announcement. That public consultation also addressed the proposal to extend the temporary waiver of ‘late’ vehicle licence renewal fees which had been implemented by NTA earlier in 2020 and which was due to fall away on 31 December 2020.
Unfortunately only 5% of the industry responded to the public consultation, however the majority of those who did respond were in favour of the proposed draft measure. NTA’s Board approved the measure in December 2020 and the Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) (Fees) Regulations 2020 came into effect on 1 January 2021.
As a result of the above measure SPSV licence holders will not be required to pay ‘standard’ vehicle licence renewal fees for renewals falling in the 2021 calendar year. Also as a result of the above measure, the temporary waiver on ‘late’ vehicle licence renewal fees (up to €500) has been extended to 12 June 2021. After this date, a reduced late renewal fee (which equates to the 2020 standard vehicle licence renewal fee – €150, €75, €37.50) will be payable in respect of renewing an expired SPSV licence until 31 December 2021. SPSV licences must be renewed within 12 months of the licence entering an expired status or renewal of that licence will not be possible at law.
It should be noted that the prescribed fees associated with changing the vehicle on a licence at or before renewal have not altered as a result of the above measure. The assistance identified by the industry as key in the context of those SPSV licence holders whose vehicles would reach their maximum permissible age during the current COVID-19 pandemic and thus would be required to change their vehicle, was a temporary amendment of the age requirements specified in Regulation 31 of the Taxi Regulation (Small Public Service Vehicle) Regulations 2015. A further Regulation, the Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) (No.2) Regulations 2020, was therefore enacted by NTA to give effect to this assistance for eligible vehicles during 2021.
Both of the abovementioned Regulations will automatically fall away after 31 December 2021 and from 1st January 2022, both standard vehicle licence renewal fees and late vehicle licence renewal fees will return to normal.