The Commission for Taxi Regulation has announced that from next year, new licences will only be issued for wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

Other reforms will mean that new licences will not be transferable.

Holders will only be permitted to transfer existing licences once and only to a vehicle less than three years old.

From January 2011, all taxi and hackney operators will be obliged to have a vehicle less than nine years old.

It was originally intended to introduce this requirement in 2012 but with a quarter of the fleet now older than nine years, the Commission has brought the date forward.

Taxi Regulator Kathleen Doyle said the measures are a natural progression in the ongoing reform of the industry.

She said the situation will be monitored and the reissuing of standard taxi licences may be considered if it is deemed necessary in future.

According to the Commission over 27,000 SPSV Licences are active.

More than 19,000 are for standard taxis, while just over 1,500 are for wheelchair accessible vehicles.