A subsidised local hackney service will be provided in both Ballon and Freshford as part of new national pilot programme.
A creative new pilot scheme which will see localised, specially licenced hackney services rolled out in 21 rural communities will soon be operating in Ballon, Carlow and Freshford, Kilkenny as part of a national drive to give people living in rural locations better transport options.
The National Local Hackney Pilot, launched today (January 9th) by my colleague Minister Eamon Ryan with the National Transport Authority, is a grant-aided programme designed to encourage new part-time local hackney services in communities that can't 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 and drop them to where they want to go, providing that essential “last mile” connection for people living in more isolated or rural areas.
Improving connectivity across rural Ireland has been a key priority for the Greens in government - not just in towns, but in the areas around those towns where so many people live and farm. I believe this pilot is a welcome development that responds in a really practical way to the reality of Irish rural living. In tandem with the increase in local link bus services, it’s creating additional transport options to connect people from their doors to their local towns, and to healthcare services, post-offices and other local amenities, as well as other transport stops and hubs.
Not only does this scheme have the potential to offer a safe, reliable and much-needed transport service, it will also create a part-time employment opportunity for people living locally.
Some additional information on the scheme:
Each successful applicant for the local hackney license 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.
The 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 10km 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.
Applications to take part in the one-year Pilot Programme can be made at localhackney.ie.
The final acceptance date for applications for the Pilot is the 28th February 2023. 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
For more information, click here.