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Rickshaw drivers face vetting under new licensing plan

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Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Damien Eagers

Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Damien Eagers

Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Damien Eagers

Rickshaw operators will require a licence and garda vetting under new plans to regulate the growing late-night transport service.

The Herald previously revealed how some rickshaw operators were selling drugs to customers during cross-city journeys.

Under the Government clampdown, motorised rickshaws will be completely banned, while other non-electric operators will have to adhere to similar regulations as taxi drivers.

The significant move follows widespread calls for the introduction of regulations on rickshaws, which are available in most major Irish cities.

There have also been serious concerns over the safety of rickshaws, as they are mostly used by young people leaving pubs and nightclubs late at night.

The new legislation will require rickshaw owners to apply for a licence if they want to operate. They will need a tax clearance cert and garda vetting to be eligible for the licence.

A recent National Transport Authority survey found 57pc of rickshaw passengers reporting accidents or near-misses during their journeys.

It has also been reported that 154 rickshaw drivers have been arrested under the Misuse of Drugs Act while working in the Pearse Street district in the past 18 months.

Transport Minister Shane Ross, who previously said he favoured an outright ban on rickshaws, will bring the legislation to Cabinet today.

Speaking at an Oireachtas committee meeting in May, Mr Ross said he was in favour of a outright ban on all rickshaws because of the costs involved in regulating the sector.

Regime

"New legislation would be needed, but enforcement of a ban should cost significantly less than implementing a full new regulatory regime," he said.

"We would still have to define the rickshaw vehicle in law, and provide for detention powers. But this would involve a much simpler piece of legislation."

An undercover Herald investigation in 2016 revealed a number of rickshaw operators in the city centre were selling drugs to customers.

Several drivers confirmed they had drugs for sale, with some hiding the narcotics under the seats of the rickshaws.


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