Thursday 13 December 2018

Rickshaws could soon be banned in Ireland over safety concerns

Rickshaw driver in city centre
Rickshaw driver in city centre

Kyle Ewald

Transport Minister Shane Ross is proposing a ban on the use of rickshaws at an Oireachtas committee meeting today.

While Ross is set to propose that enforcement of a ban will be significantly less expensive than an entire set of new regulations, others are apprehensive about banning the cycle-powered taxis all together. 

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Dublin Independent Councillor Cieran Perry said he was “not sure if I would support a full ban”.

“It’s a service people appear to want,” said Cllr Perry, also acknowledging that rickshaws can be argued to be an “environmentally friendly option”.

Cllr Perry acknowledged that rickshaw regulation may be too costly and mentioned possible safety concerns in relation to the mechanical capability of rickshaws to carry the amount of passengers they do.

The Independent councillor instead suggested that rickshaws be inspected and registered by the National Car Testing Service (NCTS), like taxis and other public service vehicles.

“The NTA 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,” Cllr Perry said.

Ross asked the National Transport authority to conduct a review of the use and operation of rickshaws and licensing options in the industry.

At the moment, there are no driver and operator licenses, vehicle registrations, motor tax, fare regulations, or regulation in standards of service for rickshaw drivers.

Cllr Perry said while he prefers that rickshaws be regulated than banned altogether, if the only option is a ban, he would support it.

“We can’t continue with the chaos that happens every weekend in the city centre - something has to be done,” he said.

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.

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