New hackney service announced for Carna

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galway daily news new hackney service in carna co. galway 2023
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD joined NTA CEO Anne Graham, right and Wendy Thompson, Director of Public Transport Regulation to launch a one-year pilot programme for a localised, specially licenced hackney service. Pic:Julien Behal Photography

Carna is one of 21 rural locations included in a new hackney service to help improve transport choices for those in rural Ireland.

The one-year Local Hackney Pilot aims to encourage new part-time local hackney services to operate in communities which could not support a full time taxi or hackney operation.

Applications to take part in the programme, launched today by Minister Eamon Ryan alongside the National Transport Authority, can be made at localhackney.ie

The pilot programme will roll out across 21 rural areas, stretching from Donegal to Cork.

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.

Announcing the pilot, Minister Eamon Ryan said that it responds to the reality of rural life in Ireland, connecting people from their doors to local towns, healthcare centres, the post-offices, or onto other transport stops and hubs.

“With this new pilot service, rural communities across Ireland will now be given the opportunity to have a part-time local area hackney service available to them,” he said.

“We will monitor it over the coming year and learn from it so that we can roll it out across many other areas. This Pilot is an important tenet of the Government’s National Sustainable Mobility Plan 2022-2025 and a key deliverable under Our Rural Future 2021-2025.”

Each successful applicant for the local hackney licence may be granted €6,000 as a subsidy to ordinary fares income, to run the service.

This grant is designed to contribute towards the fixed costs associated with providing this service.

It is payable by NTA over one year, in equal monthly instalments, where the service provider can show that the services are being used, and the local hackney service is of benefit to the community.

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

The local hackney, which exclusively operates on a pre-booked basis, may only pick up passengers within a designated area of 7 to 10 km 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.

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 is 28 February 2023.

However, each application will be assessed at the time of receipt. If the applicant in each area does not complete the licence process, NTA will assess the next applicant on the list.

Two separate licences are legally required to operate a local area hackney; a local area hackney vehicle licence issued by NTA for suitable, appropriately insured vehicles and a local area hackney driver licence issued by An Garda Síochana for a driver who has been successfully Garda vetted.

NTA will guide applicants through the process.