CORK taxi drivers are “cautiously optimistic” that new legislation approved by Cabinet will finally clampdown on the unregulated rickshaw sector.
Bobby Lynch, a spokesman for the Cork Taxi Council, said the legislation will make a huge difference to taxi drivers, if properly enforced.
“As long as there is someone there to enforce what Minister Shane Ross is bringing in. Enforcement is the key to this now,” Mr Lynch said.
Mr Lynch said that Gardai were needed to implement the new legislation, once it is signed into law.
Under the proposed legislation, which will be introduced as amendments to the Taxi Regulation Act 2013, rickshaw operators must obtain a licence and Garda vetting. The new laws would also ban motorised rickshaws.
“Enforcement officers are no good, we need Gardai, more Gardai patrolling the streets,” Mr Lynch said.
“There should be more Gardai on the streets anyway because people are noticing that there are no guards around, I picked up people over the Jazz weekend and they were commenting that they couldn’t believe there was so little Gardai.”
Mr Lynch said, in general, he and the taxi body, were thrilled by the recent move to regulate rickshaws. “I think it is the first thing Minister Ross did for anyone, never mind the taxis. He woke up at last. We had no faith whatsoever. He knew what was going on and it took him this long to get this approved, it should have been done two years ago.”
Mr Lynch said anecdotally there did not appear to be as many rickshaws on Cork streets as there used to be, but the ones that are there are behaving in the same manner, going the wrong way up one-way streets, disobeying traffic lights and ignoring the rules of the road.
City councillor Ken O’Flynn said the freshly approved legislation regarding the regulation of rickshaws is to be welcomed and could have happened a lot sooner if his bye-laws had been approved seven years ago.