NTA is responsible for the regulation of the SPSV industry in Ireland. As at 31 March, the Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV) fleet comprised 22,179 taxis, hackneys and limousines in active and inactive licence status (i.e. eligible to be renewed).  The Taxi Regulation (Small Public Service Vehicle) Regulations 2015 specify the maximum permissible age limits for operating a vehicle as an SPSV.  763 of the fleet vehicles will reach their end of life by the end of 2020.  This public consultation concerns only those vehicles.

Having regard the Covid-19 pandemic, and in order to mitigate the adverse economic consequences to the SPSV industry likely to result from the spread of that disease, NTA would like to make an exceptional legal provision, the Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) Regulation 2020, in relation to maximum permissible age limits.

The purpose of the Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) Regulation 2020 is to temporarily amend Regulation 31 of the Taxi Regulation (Small Public Service Vehicle) Regulations 2015, Maximum Permissible Age Requirements. 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.

The “maximum permissible age” in this context means the age of a vehicle beyond which that vehicle may not be licensed as a small public service vehicle of the relevant vehicle licence category.  Once a vehicle reaches its final operation date, the licence holder may not apply to NTA 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.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated extraordinary economic circumstances being experienced by the regulated industry, we consider extending the Maximum Permissible Age Requirements by one (1) year for licences with expiry dates from 13 March to 31 December 2020 worthy of public consultation. The draft regulation is time-bound and will automatically fall away after 31 December 2020.

The result of the changes to Regulation 31 of the Taxi Regulation (Small Public Service Vehicle) Regulations 2015 would, for vehicle licences expiring to 31 December, 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.

The age of the vehicle is calculated from the exact date on which it was first registered (day, month and year).

Thank you for expressing your interest in the Public Consultation on Draft Small Public Service Vehicle (Emergency Measure COVID-19) Regulation 2020. The closing date for submissions was 17:00 on Friday 24 April. The results of the Public Consultation will be published on our website in due course.