‘Engage’ with taxi sector to ‘ensure’ they are supported in the time ahead, says NI Finance Minister
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
The Northern Ireland Finance Minister has urged the Department for Infrastructure to ‘engage’ with taxi drivers to ‘ensure that they are supported in the time ahead’.
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon recently brought forward a range of measures to address a shortage of taxi drivers in Northern Ireland.
These measures included a 7.6% increase in the maximum taxi fare and the introduction of a support package for new drivers.
However, in recent weeks coronavirus restrictions have been re-introduced, including Government advice to work from home where possible.
Whenever restrictions on movement is encouraged demand for transport services diminishes.
Ailing Reilly, Sinn Fein MLA fro Belfast West, asked the Finance Minister: “Minister, the Belfast black taxis in my constituency are an invaluable asset to my community, but they have been hit badly by the pandemic. What provision is in the Budget for black taxis?”
Conor Murphy, Finance Minister and Sinn Fein MLA for Newry and Armagh, replied: “That is primarily a matter for the Department for Infrastructure. As part of the discussion on the Budget, it put in a bid for concessionary fares, which we agreed to ring-fence.
“Undoubtedly, the black taxi service, given that it relies on and works with the community of west Belfast, and, indeed, across Belfast, will have suffered as a consequence of much-reduced movement under the restrictions.
“I know that black taxis are a very important community asset in west Belfast in particular, so I look to the Department for Infrastructure to engage with them to ensure that they are supported in the time ahead.
“The Executive provided a range of sectors with support through the experience of the pandemic, and I know from visiting many of them that, but for that support, a lot of them would not be in business now. I look forward to the Department for Infrastructure's continued engage with the black taxi service.”