Transport Minister aiming to ban rickshaws from Irish streets

Shane Ross says many rickshaw drivers flout the rules of the road

Transport Minister aiming to ban rickshaws from Irish streets

File photo of rickshaws in Dublin city | Image: Rollingnews.ie

Updated 14:45

The Transport Minister is aiming to ban rickshaws from Irish streets.

Opposition parties have called for the night time transports to be regulated instead, noting their popularity among many commuters.

TDs have also warned that many operators are legitimate - with drivers reliant on the income.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Transport Committee this afternoon, Transport Minister Shane Ross said regulation would be too expensive for the State.

"Significant resources would need to be invested," he said. "More admin and enforcement resources would be needed in the NTA and the gardaí - possibly also in the RSA.

"Implementing a full licensing regime together with enforcement would come at a substantial cost to the State.

"All for a relatively small number of vehicles.

"It is estimated by the NTA; I think there are around 1,000 in Dublin."

He insisted that many drivers are flouting the basic rules of the road.

Rickshaw drivers are exempt from many bye-laws because they are technically pedal cyclists.

"Complaints range from blocking footpaths and forcing pedestrians off the road," he said.

"Weaving recklessly in and out of traffic.

"Taking little or no heed for the rules of the road. Breaking red lights.

"Driving the wrong way up a one-way street. Transporting passengers with little care for their safety.

"There have been collisions."

The minister now plans to consult with the Attorney General about how best to introduce his outright ban.

 

Rickshaw drivers in Dublin city | Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

 

'Rickshaw NCT'

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Independent Dublin City councillor Cieran Perry said action needs to be taken on rickshaws - but said he could not support an outright ban.

"It would make more sense to regulate (them) - it's a service that people appear to want," he said.

"It could even be argued that it's an environmentally more friendly mode of transport.".

"I think, to be honest, proper regulation - insure it, licence it, make sure that there's a public fare structure, the earnings are taxable, health and safety concerns addressed - I think that would be a much more sensible approach than an outright ban".

He also suggested an NCT-type test would be needed on the rickshaws themselves.

"That's one of the biggest fears that I personally have - whether the rickshaws themselves are mechanically capable of carrying the amount of passengers they do carry on a regular basis.

"The NTA already already regulate taxis as public services vehicles; if these were considered public service vehicles as well the NTA would simply transfer the regulation from taxis, change the regulation to whatever means necessary and implement that for the rickshaws".

But he said if only option is to ban them, he will support that: "Yeah I'd have to (support a ban)... we can't continue with the chaos that happens every weekend in the city centre - something has to be done.

"My preference is clearly for regulation."

The Committee also discussed Minister Ross' plans for new evening and late night bus services - which will operate in a number of rural areas on a trial basis from next month.

This morning, committee chair Fergus O'Dowd said TDs would discuss "the various routes, counties and locations chosen, how counties and communities can apply to be included in the service, the frequency of the services and how they will operate in practice."