Current format of ‘Area Familiarisation Tests’ places applicants from counties such as Galway at huge disadvantage
Fine Gael TD for Galway West and Mayo South has called on the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD to tackle the lack of fairness in the Area Familiarisations Testing required to obtain a hackney cab licence.
The Area Familiarisation Tests form part of the hackney licensing system operated by the National Transport Authority and are operated on a county-by-county basis regardless of size.
During the Dáil debate on the Public Transport Bill 2015 Deputy Kyne branded the current county basis for the tests as ridiculous and emphasised how much greater the difficulty in passing the test is for applicants from Galway, Mayo and other larger counties.
Appealing to the Minister to address the unfairness, Deputy Kyne commented:
“The current system clearly discriminates against applicants from larger counties who are required to have knowledge of areas in which they will never operate a hackney cab.
“Under the system a person living in Connemara is required to have detailed knowledge of streets, roads, housing estates in places such as Ballinasloe, Tuam and Gort to pass an area familiarisation test to obtain a hackney licence. In one example which has been raised with me the applicant lives in Clifden – some 135 km from Ballinasloe and is seeking a licence to operate in Connemara only.
“The fact is that it would never be expected of an applicant to know routes within much smaller geographical areas such as Dublin to Mullingar, (80 kilometres), Dublin to Dundalk (85 kilometres) or even Dublin to Wexford (120 kilometres). Yet, knowledge of even larger areas is required of applicants in Galway or Mayo.
“The test needs to be more regional and balanced. There is no need for somebody living in the middle of Connemara or Clifden to be knowledgeable about housing estates in Tuam, Ballinasloe or Gort and I’ve asked the Minister look into the matter and to end the unfairness.”