The wheels have been set in motion to give rural dwellers access to a local taxi service.
It’s being hailed as a way of providing social mobility for rural dwellers, giving people a way of accessing shops, health services, and local events.
And it is a service that many communities in Co Mayo and other rural parts of Ireland have been crying out for over a number of years.
The new ‘Local Area Hackney Licence’ or ‘Rural Hackney’ licence announced by the Government this week allows community groups in isolated areas to apply for one of the licences.
The licence will cost just €70 between the vehicle and drivers’ licence.
How to apply for Local Area Hackney Licence
And how do you go about applying for a Local Area Hackney Licence?
Applications can now be made to the National Transport Authority (NTA) but areas or community groups seeking one will have to demonstrate a transport deficit for their area.
Just click here to find the guidelines and conditions set out for obtaining a Local Area hackney Licence here.
The hope is that the rural transport groups, working with the local authorities, will be able to identify the area’s most in need of access to transport and licences can be granted on that basis.
The licences will be issued on a pilot basis initially.
Already a new Transport Co-Ordination Unit (TCU) for the provision of rural transport services in Mayo has been announced.
The TCU will have a key role in maintaining databases of people in rural areas with specific transport needs and assisting co-ordinating voluntary efforts to address these.
The recommendation for a low-cost hackney license for rural areas came from the Government’s taxi regulation review, chaired by Public Transport Minister, Alan Kelly.