I read an article in the Advertiser dated December 16, (Kilkenny road train taken off the road) I would like to have the opportunity to defend the local taxis in Kilkenny as regards to this road train.
Let me point out to the local authorities and councillors involved in this article that the taxis of Kilkenny are not responsible for this train being removed from the road. We as taxi owners had no objection whatsoever to the road train operating for the last six months nor would we ever if the train in question had operated within reason, which was to ferry passengers around a scenic route as a seasonal tour, not as a taxi which he was about to undertake. This train does not have a taxi licence to carry any passengers to and from Cillin Hill ice rink for reward and that is what we objected to. Had he stayed within his limits no one would have had any reason to complain. There is no regulation in the road traffic act to allow for such vehicles at present.
There is no certificate for road worthiness or health and safety and it is not passed by any regulator to carry for reward.
It would appear that the local authorities and councillors want to turn a blind eye to the existing transport laws. It would take legislation to be passed in the Dáil to facilitate these type of vehicles, which are not catered for under any existing laws.
This road train is not a manufactured vehicle, which would have been tested for safety to pass regulations. The local authorities and councillors in Kilkenny are trying to make out that the local taxi owners are the baddies (we are not). They are the ones responsible for handing out permits in the first place, without investigating, first, the legality and legislation involved for road trains.
Taxis are not allowed to operate without proper procedures in place and stringent suitability tests carried out, otherwise heavy penalties would be imposed or we would be put off the road until everything is in order. An SPSV is a requirement if you want to operate as a taxi.
It is typical of our local authorities and councillors to take it upon themselves to blame taxis for their mistakes. They seem to think they can make their own rules and allow any form of transport to operate in Kilkenny
It was also mentioned in the article by a local councillor that there were seven to eight more of these trains around Ireland. Well if there are, then they are also operating, without legislation, for reward.
I would also like to make it clear to the authorities that I pointed out to the Department of Transport that the taxis in Kilkenny have no objection to the local road train operating as long as it sticks to the tour it first set out to do, which was a scenic route and is within the law set down by the Department.
It was also mentioned that three businesses were at a loss. Are we as taxi owners ever going to be recognised as business people in this town?
We have always been at a loss with the removal of taxi tanks to facilitate every event that takes place in Kilkenny and we are not going to be subjected to it anymore.