You are here: Home > Travel and Recreation > Public transport > Regulation of taxis and small public service vehicles

Print Page Send to a Friend

Regulation of taxis and small public service vehicles


A Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV) is defined as a public service vehicle with seating for up to eight people. Small Public Service Vehicles include taxis, wheelchair accessible taxis, hackney cabs and limousines. The purpose of this document is to explain how these public transport vehicles are regulated and your rights.

What is the difference between a taxi, hackney and a limousine?

  • Taxi: small public service vehicle (SPSV), for which a taxi licence has been granted. Taxis may stand for hire at a taxi rank and ply for hire on the street.
  • Hackney: a private hire small public service vehicle (SPSV) for which a hackney licence has been granted. Hackney cabs should be pre-booked on a private hire basis and cannot be hailed down in a public place.
  • Limousine: a private hire SPSV for which a limousine licence has been granted. A limousine must be suited by its style and condition to be used for ceremonial occasions or for corporate or other prestige purposes. A limousine should be pre-booked on a private hire basis and cannot be hailed down in a public place.

How are taxis and other SPSVs regulated?

The Commission for Taxi Regulation was established in September 2004 under the Taxi Regulation Act 2003 and had overall responsibility for regulating all SPSVs. The Commission for Taxi Regulation was dissolved in January 2011 and its primary function taken over by the National Transport Authority under the Public Transport Regulation Act 2009. The National Transport Authority is now responsible for the exercise of the functions set out in the Taxi Regulation Act 2003.

An Advisory Committee on Small Public Service Vehicles, set up under the 2003 Act, gives advice to the Authority on issues regarding SPSVs and their drivers. This group consisted of representatives from the taxi, hackney and limousine industry, local authorities, An Garda Síochána, the tourist industry and disability action groups.


What does the regulator do?

The duties of the regulator are:

  • To oversee the licensing of all taxis, hackneys and limousines. They process applications, issue and renew licences for SPSVs. This is done through a network of 32 regional centres.
  • To manage the Register of Licences as set out under Section 38 of the Taxi Regulation Act 2003. This register contains important information on all SPSV vehicles and their drivers.
  • To ensure that drivers comply with the various duties of SPSV drivers as set out in Section 39 of Taxi Regulation Act 2003. These rules cover the correct treatment of passengers, calculating fares and meter usage, licence display, issuing of receipts and adhering to the shortest possible route.
  • To ensure that passengers obey the rules regarding the duties of passengers. Under Section 40 of the Taxi Regulation Act 2003, passengers of SPSVs are required to comply with certain regulations when travelling in a taxi, hackney or limousine. These rules include not causing damage to the vehicle, not putting the driver at risk and paying the agreed fare.
  • To set maximum taxi fares.
  • To ensure that SPSVs meet the vehicle standards as set out in SI 190/1963 Road Traffic Regulations (Construction, Equipment and Use of Vehicles), 1963 as amended. This is done through the National Car Testing Service.
  • To enforce the regulations of the Taxi Regulation Act 2003.

In January 2012 the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport published the Government Report on the Future of Taxi Regulation. The National Transport Authority is implementing a number of the actions outlined in the report. Since January 2013, all taxis are required to have specified door signage fitted when renewing their SPSV licence. Further information on the actions being implemented is available on the Authority's website.

Vehicle standards

New National Vehicle Standards requirements for small public service vehicles were published on 26 November 2007. The new National Vehicle Standards (pdf) came into effect on 1 January 2009.

Where to apply

Further information on the regulation of taxi and small public service vehicles in Ireland is available from the:

National Transport Authority

Dún Scéine
Harcourt Lane
Dublin 2

Tel:(01) 879 8300
Fax:(01) 879 8333

Page updated: 20 May 2013



Related Documents

Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.