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CCTV used at taxi ranks to catch drivers flouting rules

CAMERAS at taxi ranks will be used to police driving behaviour by taxi drivers under a new law proposed in the Dail.

CCTV recordings will be used to spot breaches of regulations that target taxi drivers who park on public roads beside taxi-ranks when the ranks are full, said public and commuter transport minister Alan Kelly.

A new Taxi Regulation Bill will also disqualify people with very serious criminal convictions from driving taxis.

A new 'demerit' system will also be enforced to penalise taxi drivers who flout the rules.

But demerits will not be issued to drivers parking illegally beside full taxi-ranks, as the minister acknowledged complaints by taxi drivers about the general shortage of taxi-ranks.

Bans on drivers with serious convictions were being challenged and overturned in the courts, but the new law will tighten regulations disqualifying drivers with serious convictions in Ireland or in other countries, said the minister.



"Quite frankly, there are a few individuals who should not be driving taxis that currently are and this legislation will directly address that," he said.

The new demerit system will punish those with recurrent breaches of regulations and will be similar but separate to the traffic penalty points system.

Those who get too many demerits will be disqualified from driving taxis for three months.

"Just to give one example of a demerit, should a taxi driver deliberately take a customer on a longer journey for the purpose of increasing the fare, if this is investigated and found to be an offence, the driver concerned could be given a demerit," he said.

The new law will oblige drivers to reveal if they also have other jobs or employment.

An RTE Prime Time Investigates documentary showed how some taxidrivers had jobs driving other public service vehicles, which put them at risk from driving excessively long hours.

This posed a danger to the safety of passengers, themselves and other road users, said the minister.