Scraping of the 9-year taxi rule ‘comes too late’

Local taximan Barney Griffin.  (1712Jb34)
Local taximan Barney Griffin. (1712Jb34)

A Buncrana taxi man has welcome the NTA’s decision to scrap the nine year taxi rule, but admits that it has come too late for many.

Barney Griffin, (pictured right) a local self employed taxi in the town, had slammed the decision by the regulator when it was introduced before the end of last year, describing it as a completely “ridiculous”, and a “money racket”

Mr Griffin said the new ruling was seriously unfair and needed to be overturned.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ yesterday the Buncrana man said he was happy with the over-ruling but feels that it has already put hundreds of taxi men out of business.

“This is of course welcomed but is definitely a case of too little too late. The taxi association took the case to the High Court and then the judge threw it out, but had he not their would have been 6,500 taxi and hackney men put out of business.

“It should never been introduced in the first place.”

Mr Griffin explained how the local taxi men in the area already ensure expense tests on their cars and buses every year.

“We have a PSV and suitability test carried out on our taxis annually. They come out and go over the cars with a fine tooth comb to ensure the car is road worthy and fully equipped with all the necessary safety equipment.

“We have to pay for the tests, and let me tell you, it’s not cheap, if you ask me it’s another way of making money out of people.”

But despite the negativity, the local man has said the majority of Inishowen people have found the news a big relief.

“Times are tough enough and we’re finding it really hard at the minute so anything that comes along like this is welcomed. It’s not as though we can just go into a bank and get a loan to buy a new car anymore.”

A spokesperson for the NTA said having revoked the aspect of the “nine-year rule” for those renewing their standard taxi and hackney vehicle licence in 2011, the Authority will now examine what alternative measures will be put in place to ensure an appropriate quality of vehicle for consumers.