On 7th March, Gregory Campbell, DUP MLA for East Londonderry put the following question to the Minister of the Environment regarding the upcoming changes to Taxi Regulation and the impact it will have in towns such as Coleraine. “Following the introduction of taxi metering, to detail the steps he will take to mitigate against the issues faced by taxi operators and passengers in towns such as Coleraine, where the immediate proximity of railway crossing barriers to a bus or rail station causes prolonged delays.”
In response to the question, Minister Mark H Durkan said : “The Department made regulations governing the use of taximeters in taxis in December 2015, with the various provisions coming into effect from May 2016. The specific issue of railway crossings has not been raised with me before, but of course many areas throughout the North will be affected by significant traffic congestion depending on the time of day.
“You will wish to note that the fares included in the recent Regulations are maximum fares and the driver has the ability to charge less than the fare if they wish to do so to take account of circumstances which could interrupt the customer’s journey. I am also aware that traffic congestion has a financial impact on taxi operators and drivers. Following recent engagement with the taxi industry by my officials I have instructed them to amend the waiting time element of the taxi tariff for all taxis operating in the North to match that currently regulated for Belfast Public Hire, which is approximately £13.40 per hour. I am confident this change will ensure taxi operators and driver are adequately recompensed for waiting time.”