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'I was on one myself late at night' - Shane Ross left 'shocked' after rickshaw ride


A rickshaw in Dublin city centre and inset, Transport Minister Shane Ross

A rickshaw in Dublin city centre and inset, Transport Minister Shane Ross

A rickshaw in Dublin city centre and inset, Transport Minister Shane Ross

Transport Minister Shane Ross has said he was left "pretty shocked" after hailing a rickshaw in Dublin city centre one night.

Minister Ross proposed a rickshaw ban at the Oireachtas committee yesterday and told an anecdotal story about his own experience with the controversial bikes.

"I was on one myself late one night and I was pretty shocked quite honestly because it confirmed everything that I had heard about them," he said.

"They charged me €10 from George's Street to St Stephens Green and on the first trip the driver certainly broke traffic lights. It wasn't very comfortable. The return journey, when I asked for the price, they responded 'whatever you like'."

The Independent TD said he took the rickshaw journey as party of his research.

"This person broke every rule in the book. They were going along the footpath at great speed and over the pedestrian crossing and broke red lights as if they didn't exist.

"When I was just out at Wicklow Street, there was a rickshaw travelling the wrong way up a one way street."

Cork North Central TD, Mick Barry, quipped: "We nearly lost you, minister".

Minister Ross revealed that 154 rickshaw drivers have been arrested under the Misuse of Drugs Act in the Pearse Street District alone over the past 18 months.

Independent.ie exposed 18 months ago through an undercover investigation how a number of rickshaw drivers are selling drugs in Dublin city centre.

The investigation prompted 'Operation Rickshaw' by gardai, who have been working to crack down on the illegal sale of drugs.

Meanwhile, a survey from the National Transport Authority (NTA) revealed that 57pc of rickshaw passengers reported being involved in accidents or near misses, which the NTA said was a "shocking statistic".

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Fianna Fáil's transport spokesman Robert Troy said people's lives had been put at risk due to delays in drafting legislation.

He said he was not convinced of the need for an outright ban, noting that other cities had introduced regulations. The approach being taken by the minister was "lazy", he charged.

Rejecting the claims, Mr Ross said the issue was "complicated", and that he was in consultation with the Attorney General about the best approach to be taken.

"I wish to put the rickshaw industry on notice that whether by regulation or a ban, the days of indulging a reckless activity that appears to be running amok are coming to a close," he said.

He considered a ban to be more appropriate than regulation, but if this was "practical and not too expensive" it could be considered, he added.

A decision would be made before the end of this Dáil term, he added.