‘Ruxi’ proposal drive after ‘constructive’ NTA meeting

What was described as ‘a very constructive’ meeting was held between the Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly, and the National Transport Authority, to discuss the rural taxi ‘Ruxi’ proposal.

All present at the meeting on Wednesday, February 6, were in agreement that there was a deficit in the provision of public service vehicles across rural Ireland, according to a spokesperson for the minister.

The CEO of the National Transport Authority, Anne Graham, told the meeting that she was willing to look at relaxing the criteria for rural hackney licences in an effort to get increased levels of service available to rural Ireland dwellers.

Ms. Graham will develop and propose new solutions to the minister for transport, Shane Ross, in the coming months. The Oireachtas transport committee will also discuss the matter at its meeting on February 27.

Minister Daly is said to be hopeful of reaching an agreement to set up a number of pilots to evaluate the proposed service in detail.

Last October he wrote to Minister Ross, outlining his ‘Uber-type’ proposal, to introduce a new level of service that would operate in addition to the current taxi and hackney service.

It would allow for an opportunity for local people to safely drive their neighbours or friends to and from their chosen destination, he said. “There was never more of a 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.

At present, many rural dwellers are choosing to stay at home rather than socialising, which is not good for mental well-being, the minister said.