A CONTROVERSIAL scheme to rid the roads of taxis that are more than nine years old was scrapped yesterday.
The National Transport Authority (NTA), which regulates the industry, performed a U-turn on the laws, which were introduced at the turn of the year.
But the move will come too late for hundreds of drivers who have already changed their cars.
Now, taxi drivers who have been in the business for more than two years will be exempt from the rule.
Those who registered for a licence after January 2009 will still have to update their cars.
The move from the NTA, which took over the regulation of the industry from the Commission for Taxi Regulation at the start of this year, comes after continued objections from drivers that they could not afford, or get finance for, new cars.
It is estimated that around 5,300 taxi drivers of the 21,500 nationally would have had to change their cars this year under the now-revoked rules.
However, representatives said hundreds of drivers had already been affected by the rules, which came into effect seven weeks ago.
Tony Rowe, of the National Transport Assembly of Ireland, said the rule affected a lot of drivers whose cars were in pristine condition.
"The pivotal concern of any transport authority has to be the safety of the travelling public and drivers and this nine-year rule was meaningless," he said.
"Each taxi already underwent a stringent NCT and SGS and passed regardless of their year."