5.There was extensive consultation on the provisions contained in the Act. In August 2003 the Department issued a discussion document containing initial draft proposals followed, in March 2005, by the publication of a consultation document containing its final proposals.
6.Following that exercise a total of 335 responses were received, representing 77 organisations, taxi businesses and individual drivers. Overall, the proposals were welcomed and recognised as a means both of tackling illegal taxi activity, and of professionalising the industry in order to improve safety, service standards, and consumer protection for all taxi users.
7.The 2005 consultation paper – which included a draft Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA), a draft partial Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) and a rural proofing assessment – together with a report summarising the written responses and other representations received, can be found at the Department’s road safety website www.roadsafetyni.org/index/consultations/consultations-past.htm.
8.In August 2006 the Department consulted on a proposal for a draft Order in Council: “The Taxis (Northern Ireland) Order 2006”. This consultation involved the distribution of 1,600 documents to groups in the DOE Equality scheme, relevant taxi, transportation, road safety and consumer interest groups including some 800 known taxi businesses. 17,000 licensed taxi drivers were individually notified of the consultation. In addition, the Department conducted 10 public meetings and held a further 16 meetings with political representatives, taxi associations, vehicle manufacturer/converters and other interested parties.
9.53 responses were received from key stakeholders including taxis associations, taxi businesses, s75 groups, district councils and political parties/representatives. The Order and the specific measures it would enable, were widely welcomed by both taxis users and taxi businesses and wholeheartedly supported by the Consumer Council and the Inclusive Mobility Transport Advisory Committee.
10.The 2006 consultation paper – which included the draft Order, Explanatory Memorandum, Information Note and Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) – together with the formal responses can also be found at the Department’s road safety website http://www.roadsafetyni.gov.uk/Consultations-MainDetails.htm?id=con79