Regulation of Taxis
Part 2 provides for the regulation of the vehicles used to provide taxi services.
Under section 12 it will be an offence for the driver and taxi operator to use a taxi for hire or reward unless the vehicle has a taxi licence. It will also be an offence for an owner of a taxi to permit it to be used without a taxi licence. Section 13 sets out the application process including the requirement for suitable vehicles and insurance provision. It also provides for an appeal against a decision of the Department.
Section 14 imposes a number of duties on the owner of a licensed taxi including a requirement to present it for a vehicle test, to report any accident that materially affects its safety or performance and to notify the Department of the sale of the vehicle and the subsequent return of the taxi licence. Contravention of any stated duty will be an offence. Under section 15 the Department will issue identification plates, signs (or similar) for each licensed taxi and it will be an offence not to display it on the vehicle.
Sections 16 to 18 regulate taxi fares. The Department may regulate the fixing of maximum fares and other charges related to the hiring of taxis. In doing so it must take into consideration any recommendations made by the General Consumer Council for Northern Ireland. The rates, fares and charges must be displayed in both the taxi and the operating centre. Each taxi will be fitted with an approved taximeter and a device to issue receipts. Regulations will provide for the inspection, testing and sealing of the taximeters. Contravention of regulations relating to regulation of fares, publication of fares, taximeters and failure to display fares or tamper with taximeters will be an offence.
Each taxi will be able to carry a prescribed number of passengers. Anyone exceeding the maximum number will, under section 19, be guilty of an offence.
Section 20 allows the Department to make regulations of a general nature concerning the standards of taxis, the safety and conduct of passengers and the use of taxis.
Section 21 amends the Road Traffic Regulation (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 to provide that the Department for Regional Development may make taxi regulation orders in respect of taxi stands. Such orders will determine the location and use of roads that may be used as taxi stands.