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Armagh Newry South Armagh

McNulty Welcomes Taxi Action Plan

SDLP Assembly Member Justin McNulty has welcomed the announcement of a range of measures to tackle the shortage of taxi drivers across the North.

SDLP Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced she will legislate for a 7.6% increase in the maximum taxi fare and will introduce a support package for new drivers.  

Minister Mallon will also provide financial support to cover the DVA fees for new drivers who successfully obtain their taxi driver and vehicle licences from April 21 to March 22.    

This will mean a saving of £372 for every new driver who successfully passes all the necessary tests to become part of the taxi industry.

It follows a targeted consultation in September with the industry and representative consumer bodies.

The Newry & Armagh MLA commented:  

“Those within the taxi industry and members of the general public who regularly use their services have been clear about the challenges posed to companies and drivers during the coronavirus pandemic. The industry has been badly affected due to the Executive restrictions with more people working from home and being prevented from socialising and getting out and about as often.  

“Members of the public have also expressed frustration at the shortage of taxis available, particularly as lockdown has eased, with reports of drivers choosing to leave the industry to work elsewhere during the pandemic. Taxi services play a vital role in getting people to work, school, hospital appointments and to everyday tasks like going shopping and Minister Mallon has listened to these concerns.

“As she did when she provided financial support to help drivers during the pandemic, Minister Mallon has stepped up to address these issues and improve conditions for existing taxi drivers, while removing barriers and making it more feasible for others to take up the job. The support package announced by the SDLP Minister will help people earn a decent living, while getting more drivers onto the road to serve customers across the North. When problems arise, Minister Mallon does not duck them or try to shift the blame elsewhere, she meets those involved, gathers their views and comes up with a plan to benefit everybody involved.”

ENDS

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