Cork TD proposes Uber-style taxi service in 'isolated' rural areas

Cork TD proposes Uber-style taxi service in 'isolated' rural areas
Jim Daly

Locals in towns and villages across the country could soon be allowed to act as taxi drivers to plug a public transport gap.

The idea for an Uber-style system is being put forward by Junior Minister Jim Daly.

It would see people in small towns allowed to use their own car to pick up people within 15km of where they live.

The drivers would be able to use a mobile phone app to find passengers and set cheaper fares.

A driver using the Uber app.
A driver using the Uber app.

"This would be for areas with a population of less than 5,000 so it won't impinge on existing taxis and taxi services because they're non-existant in most of the areas that I represent," Minister Daly told C103.

With recent changes to drink-driving laws and public transport Minister Daly said he hopes the measure could help tackle rural isolation.

"The more isolated people, are the less social interaction they have," he said.

The most worrying phenomenon is people walking home at night who were good enough not to drive but deciding to walk home from the pub and getting killed on the road.

The TD also said legislation may need to change to deal with the issue of insurance.

"At the moment the legislation doesn't allow that to happen and I'm trying to get the law changed in Ireland," he said.

"I wrote to Shane Ross on this back in October and proposed it to him. I met him to tease it out further. He had a look at it but he has asked me to put it all in writing again to him to outline it so he can pass it on to the National Transport Authority, which I have done."

"I'm meeting with the CEO of the National Transport Authority on February 6 in my offices in Dublin to see how we can progress this proposal."

He said he hopes insurance companies would come on board with the idea.

"The insurance companies should be offering a reduction to people who do this.

"This has the potential to make our roads so safe. It takes drink-drivers off the roads and it takes those pedestrians, who are the most vulnerable people on rural roads that are not lit up [off the roads].

I would argue to the insurance industry that the roads will be a safer place, there will be less claims on people's insurance policies and there will be less loss of life and catastrophic injuries as a result of this taking hold.

Minister Daly said rural areas in Ireland are "crying out" for a service such as the one he is proposing.

"There is no reason for the Government to not go ahead with this. Rural Ireland [is] crying out for this," he said.

"I believe there is an enormous appetite out there to basically connect people. It's not just about drink-driving, it's about people wanting to go to the shop, to the cinema, or to go anywhere."


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