Northern Ireland

Taxi legislation review is announced in Northern Ireland

Chris Hazzard
Image caption Chris Hazzard has asked officials to establish a taxi advisory group

The infrastructure minister has announced a full review of taxi legislation.

A taxi advisory group will be set up and the review will take into account the views of operators, drivers and members of the public.

Chris Hazzard said the issues of licensing classifications and metering will have to be looked at.

He said his job was to "provide clarity".

"Metering is going to be central to how we go forward here," he added.

"My job is to provide clarity and to suggest that metering is going to be part of this."

Under current rules, taxis and similar vehicles fall under a number of categories.

Mr Hazzard said he was aware of concerns around licensing classifications for taxis and stated that class C was "intended for use by, for example wedding, funeral and novelty vehicles and not as a general taxi class".

"I am going to look to close the loopholes with class C so if that has questions or issues for people they have to consider that," he said

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Analysis by John Campbell, Business & Economics Editor

The review could raise doubts about the future of the Uber operation in Belfast.

A recently enacted law means that taxis need a certified meter and receipt printer but Uber will not install these as it uses its own metering technology.

However, as it stands there is no explicit prohibition on taxis using class C licences.

Uber said it was 'surprised' by Minister Hazzard's comments.

It said that in discussions with his department earlier this year "it was agreed that Uber's model fitted under the class C licence".

New proposals are expected to be brought forward for public consultation next spring, said the Department for Infrastructure.

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