Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has said that the consultation process being carried out by the National Transport Authority (NTA) is welcome, but it also highlights an obvious flaw around the lack of any regulation of rickshaws.

The Sinn Féin TD was commenting following the launch of a public consultation process by the NTA into establishing new laws for regulating the operation of rickshaws and said he is encouraging all interested groups and individuals to have their say in this consultation process, which has now opened to the public.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“Rickshaws have been appearing on streets all over Ireland for last couple of years but there is no legislation in place at the moment to regulate them. This is a crazy situation that has been allowed to develop by the authorities.

“Rickshaws are currently classifieds as cyclists, despite the fact that they carry passengers and work on a commercial basis. There is currently no legislation at all covering rickshaws operators, so they are not obliged to register, and local authorities are powerless to do anything to regulate the sector

“I would encourage all members of the public, including rickshaw operators, rickshaw passengers, taxi drivers, and any other road users, to make submissions to the NTA’s consultation.

“While I would encourage people to take part in this consultation by the NTA, it also highlights their inaction up to now and Minister Shane Ross’s spectator approach to the legitimate and growing concerns about the rickshaw sector.

“It is estimated that every weekend several hundred rickshaws operate in the Dublin city area but again no one knows the exact number.  Nobody knows who is operating the rickshaws, no one knows the prices they charge, nobody checks to see if the rickshaw is safe, there is no insurance to claim off if a passenger is injured, and there is currently not even a cursory police check on any of the individuals involved.

“I have been raising this matter for quite some time with Minister Ross and his Department but he doesn’t appear to be any hurry to regulate this trade.

“Last December, Sinn Féin succeeded in passing an amendment to the Road Traffic Bill 2016 which in our opinion gave the NTA some power to regulate the operation of rickshaws.

“The NTA and Minister Ross in fit of pique ignored that amendment and is proceeding with this consultation, supposedly with a long term view to the creation of new legislation.

“While I would encourage anyone interested to make a submission to the NTA my primary concern is that while no legislation is enforced, passengers in their hundreds are continuing to risk life and limb everyday on these rickshaws.”