Regulator to be appointed to oversee standards for taxi fares, drivers and their vehicles.

The announcement to appoint a national taxi regulator was made by the Minister for Transport, Seamus Brennan. The regulator will control the issue of taxi licences and will set standards for both drivers and vehicles. The announcement has been welcomed by taxi drivers' unions.

The taxi industry was deregulated in 2000 resulting in an increase in the number of taxis on the road rising from 4,000 to 12,000. This sudden growth has led to concerns among both taxi drivers and passengers resulting in the decision to establish a national regulator which will begin operation in February 2003.

Minister for Transport Seamus Brennan says that there is currently a kind of jungle competition going on in the taxi industry. The regulator will help to organise the industry by creating entry standards relating to the age of the car, the training of the driver, the issuing of licences and setting fares.

President of the National Taxi Drivers Union Tommy Gorman welcomes the news but it is disappointed that the regulator will not start operating until February.

One Dublin taxi driver welcomed the news saying,

There is too many cars now. Something has to be done.

Despite the announcement, a taxi driver protest will still take place in Dublin tomorrow. The drivers are seeking a moratorium on new taxis between now and February.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 20 November 2002. The reporter is Bethan Kilfoil.