Minister hails ‘Ruxi’ proposal as a rural isolation solution

Good progress has been made with most aspects, including insurance, of the proposal to see the introduction of an Uber-style taxi – the ‘Ruxi’ – to help combat social isolation, according to the minister for mental health and older people, Jim Daly.

“Last October I wrote to minister Shane Ross outlining my simple ‘Uber-type’ proposal, to introduce a new level of service that would operate in addition to the current taxi and hackney service,” said the minister.

It would allow the opportunity for local people to safely drive their neighbours or friends to and from their chosen destination. There was never more of dire need for additional public service vehicles in rural Ireland and we need to change the system to get more drivers on the road.

Under minister Daly’s ‘Ruxi’ proposal, garda-vetted drivers, using NCT-certified vehicles, could take passengers to and from their destinations within a 15km radius of their home town for a set price.

Meeting

It has been confirmed that minister Daly is to meet with the CEO of the National Transport Authority, Anne Graham, to discuss the proposal further next Wednesday, February 6.

The Fine Gael TD said the proposal warrants merit. “I am satisfied that the National Transport Authority is giving it the due consideration it deserves. I put down a motion at last week’s parliamentary party meeting of Fine Gael and I was very pleased that the party endorsed this proposal.

“It was also very encouraging to hear the Taoiseach speak in favour of the proposal on the record of Dail Eireann earlier this week,” the minister said.

“The Government has taken strides in making our roads a safer place for all to use. However, people are finding it difficult to get to and from social events in particular, where there is no taxi service operating.

People are choosing to stay at home instead of socialising, and this is not good for their mental well-being. As a public representative in a rural constituency, it is my obligation to not only raise these concerns in the Dail but to also to put forward workable solutions to improve the situation.

The minister sees the ‘Ruxi’ proposal as not only being of benefit to motorists but also pedestrians, many of whom have died as a result of being involved in road accidents while on their way home over the years.

“The lack of public service vehicles across the island is also having a significant negative effect on small businesses that rely on the support of local customers,” he said.

Minister Daly is now calling for a review of the road regulations which state that a person shall not use a vehicle in a public place for the carriage of persons for reward unless there is a public service vehicle licence in force or in the case of a large public service vehicle, that it is owned by a statutory transport undertaking.