Cue the minister wringing his hands and muttering darkly about 1930s transport legislation
Apparently oblivious (or maybe not) to the competency of the Department of Transport and it’s minister, especially with regard to the licensing of private operators, the traffic committee of Dublin City Council wants wee Noel to start licensing rickshaw operators in Dublin city centre.
What’s not clear is what effect that would have, or what the council expect to happen even with such legislation being put on the statute books. Since we already have a licensing structure for buses that nobody is willing to enforce, why on earth do the council think that one for rickshaws, of all things, would be?
DUBLIN City Council wants Noel Dempsey to regulate the capital’s burgeoning rickshaw sector before “serious” safety issues arise.
Councillors agreed that the local authority would write to the Department of Transport to seek legislation allowing for the “proper licensing of these bicycle taxis”.
The so-called ‘ecocabs’ have been a huge success in the city, transporting passengers quickly through congested streets.
Roads and traffic official Tim O’Sullivan stated in a report: “The service itself seems to be very popular. They can cause some minor disruption for motorised transport.
“In particular, buses can be held up behind bicycle taxis in bus lanes. The pick-up points on footpaths are not legally defined.
“Overall, the service is considered worthy of support. The operators are operating in a professional manner.”
The council’s Transportation and Traffic Special Policy Committee (SPC) agreed that a letter be sent to the department.
Councillor Sean Kenny (Lab) said they are privately operated and make money through commercial sponsorship.
Mr O’Sullivan added in his report: “The current service was launched in April 2007. At present, the company operates a total of 12 vehicles in the core city centre area. The service is confined to the area within the canals and is focused on the prime locations — O’Connell Street, St Stephen’s Green, Merrion Square and as far as the Guinness hopstore.”
He said that “the service is operating in a grey area legally”.
“The vehicles are considered to be bicycles and may legally use the bus and cycle lanes. There is no mechanism to licence or control this operation and there is no mechanism to identify stands for them,” Mr O’Sullivan said, adding: “There is nothing to prevent others from entering this market.
“If this happens, there is a likelihood of badly run operations damaging the current service.
“It is recommended that Dublin City Council write formally to the Department of Transport seeking legislation to allow for the proper licensing of these bicycle taxis,” said Mr O’Sullivan.