NTA launches pilot to provide more transport choices in rural areas across Ireland

Posted: 9 January 2023 | | No comments yet

NTA’s local hackney pilot service will improve connectivity across rural Ireland, by providing transport services in over 20 locations which do not currently have a full-time taxi or hackney operation.

NTA launches pilot to provide more transport choices in rural areas across Ireland

Credit: National Transport Authority

The Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, alongside the National Transport Authority (NTA) has announced the launch of a one year pilot programme for a localised, specially licenced hackney (a car for hire/taxi) service to help improve transport choices for people living in rural locations across Ireland.

The Local Hackney Pilot is a grant aided programme, which has been designed to encourage new part-time local hackney services to operate in communities which could not support a full time taxi or hackney operation. 

The pilot programme will roll-out across 21 rural areas, stretching from Donegal to Cork, for one-year.  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, providing an essential last-mile connection for people living in more isolated and rural areas.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD, said: “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. 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.”

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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 local hackney, which exclusively operates on a pre-booked basis, may only pick up passengers within a designated area of seven 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.

Anne Graham, CEO of the NTA, said: “NTA is proud to launch this pilot programme, which will help people in rural communities across Ireland, giving them access to a safe, reliable, part-time local hackney service in their area. I would encourage anyone with a suitable and appropriately insured vehicle, who has an interest in assisting their community to submit an application for this pilot programme.”

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.