TAXI drivers could be allowed to continue using their old petrol and diesel engines beyond the 10-year rule due to a shortage of electric vehicles and affordable cars in Ireland.
Last month the Irish Sun revealed that only one in five taxi drivers had been able to benefit from a generous government grant replace their fossil fuel engines with electric vehicles.
The NTA scheme sees taxi drivers receiving €20,000 to help them buy an electric vehicle as long as they scrap their old petrol or diesel car.
However, only €4 million of the €15 million scheme was taken because Taxi drivers imply they cannot get their hands on electric cars in Ireland due to global supply issues.
This shortage of electric vehicles and the current exorbitant prices of petrol and diesel cars has caused some drivers to consider abandoning the industry because they cannot afford to replace their old cars.
After the issue was raised by taxi driver Laurence Kelly in the Irish Sun, several political parties, including sinn fein and Fianna failure called on the NTA to temporarily relax the ten-year rule to allow taxi drivers to continue using their old cars until they can buy a new electric vehicle.
The NTA this week announced a public consultation on a proposal to extend the maximum legal age of a taxi as a temporary emergency measure.
They said: “Recent climate, energy and geopolitical challenges, in particular, have made it impossible to replace all end-of-life SPSVs within the next 12-15 months.”
The NTA added: “A pragmatic response is needed to control the impacts of issues beyond the control of the state.
“As a result, the NTA is considering making a contingency provision in relation to the maximum permitted age limits for vehicles that are expected to reach end of life before 2025.”
Most read in The Irish Sun
The NTA is proposing to temporarily extend the maximum permitted age for taxis so that no taxi driver will be forced out of the industry because a replacement vehicle cannot be purchased.
Sinn Fein transport spokesman Darren O’Rourke welcomed the decision which he described as a common sense proposal.
He said: ‘The rule is contributing to the exodus of drivers from the industry as many simply cannot afford to change vehicles so have been forced out of the industry altogether.
“We heard from taxi representatives at the Oireachtas transport committee last week that there are other issues in the sector that need to be addressed, such as portability, delays in electric vehicle deliveries and the impact this has on subsidies, and the higher cost factors are now facing.
“While this development of the ten-year rule is welcome, the government must commit to working with taxi drivers to address the other challenges facing the sector.”