Subsidised hackney service for Limerick town

National Transport Authority chief executive Anne Graham with Transport Minister Eamon Ryan at the launch new Local Hackney Pilot Scheme.

ABBEYFEALE has been included among the 21 locations selected for a one year pilot programme for a subsidised hackney service to improve transport choices in areas where such a service doesn’t operate.

The Local Hackney Pilot is a grant-aided programme to encourage new part-time local hackney services to operate in communities which could not support a full time taxi or hackney operation.

All drivers will be licenced, insured and Garda vetted and will be able to pick people up from their doors to drop them to where they want to go, providing that essential “last mile” connection for people living in more isolated and rural areas.

Successful applicants may be granted €6,000 as a subsidy to ordinary fares income, to run the service.  It will be paid by the National Transport Authority (NTA) in monthly instalments, where the service provider can show that the service is being used and is of benefit to the community.

The local licence is designed to ensure that existing taxi or hackney services already operating and providing appropriate service in any area are not displaced.

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The service, which exclusively operates on a pre-booked basis, may only pick up passengers within a designated area of seven to ten kilometres from a chosen point, normally the residence of the licenced driver. The drop off point has no restrictions, with trips to healthcare facilities and transport hubs further afield anticipated.

Commenting at today’s launch, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, said the pilot scheme responds to the reality of rural life in a creative and local-based way, connecting people from their doors to local towns, healthcare centres, the post-offices, or onto other transport stops and hubs.”

“We will monitor it over the coming year and learn from it so that we can roll it out across many other areas.

NTA chief executive Anne Graham said she would encourage anyone with a suitable and appropriately insured vehicle, who has an interest in assisting their community to submit an application for the pilot programme.

Each local hackney service will be partnered with a local NTA Compliance Officer who will be a regular point of contact for any licensing or compliance queries.

The final acceptance date for applications for the pilot scheme is  February 28.  Two separate licences are legally required to operate a local area hackney; a local area hackney vehicle licence issued by NTA and a local area hackney driver licence issued by An Garda Síochana.

Applications for the pilot scheme can be made here