Cork North West Fine Gael General Election candidate John Paul O’Shea has welcomed a pilot scheme supporting the provision of local hackney services in 15 rural Local Link areas nationwide.
Ardigole in West Cork has been selected for the initial designated area in Cork under the pilot scheme. Cllr. O’Shea has requested that the National Transport Authority (NTA) introduce the scheme in rural parts of Duhallow.
Under the pilot programme, the NTA is offering grant funding of €6,000 to individual drivers, over 12 months, to operate a localised hackney service in each of the 15 designated areas.
The areas included in the pilot programme were selected by the NTA, in conjunction with Local Link offices, as ones where a full-time taxi or hackney service may not be currently sustainable. Applications for the funding are now being accepted by NTA.
Plans for this pilot programme were first announced in May of this year by Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport Shane Ross and the Minister of State with responsibility for Sport and Tourism, Brendan Griffin, along with the NTA.
Commenting on the new pilot scheme, Cllr. O’Shea said: “This is a programme that I warmly welcome as it is addressing a real need in rural Ireland. A hackney service in these areas means it will be easier for people to frequent and socialise in their local villages and towns, supporting the vibrancy of rural Ireland as well as supporting its local businesses. I am also calling on the National Transport Authority to introduce this scheme in more rural areas of Ireland, including across Duhallow in North Cork.”
The announcement was made in response to the low take-up under the Local Area Hackney Scheme which was first introduced in December 2013. The pilot programme announced this week seeks to simplify the application process and make the provision of a service in rural areas sustainable.
The outcome of this pilot programme will help inform NTA’s local transport plans over the next five years.