Attached is a response from the NTA again in relation to the operation of Uber Limousines,
and soon to be Hailo Limousines.
It is quite clear that although such cities as Toronto, Paris, Brussells (to name 3) have banned these
type of operations, because they are breaking regulations, Dublin will not be doing anything similar!
The NTA are not prepared to adhere to their own regulations, ban these operations, and see if the
company's behind them want to challenge their decision. They seem set to allow them operate as
they wish, and to undermine the many successful businesses already operating within the NTA's strict
guidelines. A final argument against them is they in all probability will be encouraged to set up their
tax designation here in Ireland, pay 12% Corporation Tax (or none at all as others do) while all other
operators pay their taxes at far higher rates!!.
Under the new Licence certifier "APPLUS" the red flourescent
triangle carried in the boot of vehicles (for use in case of breakdowns) must have the wording
ECE R27 approved on it. Vehicles will fail their suitability test if this is not the case.
We are in the process on transferring the vehicle licensing inspections contract from SGS to Applus. The SGS contract finished on Monday (31st March) of this week and the Applus inspection regime commenced yesterday (1st April).
As with any transition there are many issues to be dealt. One of those is that has been a major spike in calls to our call centre and a major increase in the duration of calls. While the call centre had planned and resourced for such an increase, the sheer volume was much higher than expected.
The call centre has taken a number of actions to address these issues including moving some additional people from other services over to the industry and booking line. In addition, we have agreed with the call centre service provider that they will take on a number of additional temporary staff and they are taking those additional staff on hire immediately and providing the necessary training. Some of these will be on board before the weekend, the remainder at the start of next week.
I expect to see improvements in the call service by the start of next week and if people can bear with us until then, I would expect a significant improvement at that point.
As you are probably aware, following a public tender competition the service provider for SPSV vehicle inspections is changing from 1st April next. The new provider will be Applus Car Testing Services Limited, who currently operates the NCT test arrangements.
Applus are currently preparing for this transition. Up until the end of March, vehicle inspections will be undertaken at the SGS centres. From 1st April they will be undertaken at the designated Applus centres.
The location and number of test centres will change. In Dublin, where over half of SPSV suitability tests are undertaken, the arrangements will remain very similar, with one centre on the north side (Northpoint Business Park, Naul Road) and one on the south side (Hibernian Industrial Park, Greenhills Road).
Elsewhere we are proceeding with a smaller number of centres but with those centres open for longer periods. Under the current arrangements many locations had very limited availability, just two hours every two weeks. This frequently caused frustrations with late booking drivers unable to get a booking of choice. The locations of the new centres have been selected to reflect historic demand patterns and geographic spread. Undoubtedly some people will have to travel further for their inspections but overall the ability to get tests at the nearest location at the time of choice should improve.
Dublin North, Dublin South, Cork, Galway and Sligo will also be capable of administering the Skills test. In addition, those centres will also include a public counter facility where operators can go to with queries or seeking information.
To make suitability inspection bookings for any date from 1st April onwards, licence holders should ring the normal industry line at 0761 064 000. For bookings prior to that date the current arrangements continue to apply.
There are bound to be some issues arising from these changes and we will keep the arrangements under review.
If you need any further information let me know.
Director of Transport Investment and Taxi Regulation
European politicians and transparency campaigners have raised concerns about German luxury carmakers Audi and BMW providing free cars to EU member states including Ireland while negotiations were under way over strict new emissions targets.
The immediate concern is sponsorship involving the free loan of scores of luxury cars to five countries over a two-and-a half year period that coincided with the debate over new limits for carbon dioxide emissions.
The five countries consecutively held the EU presidency during that time and were responsible for leading policy negotiations.
EU member states and companies sponsoring EU presidencies say sponsorship is an entirely legitimate practice, subject to strict rules, that dates back many years.
Critics say its continuance during the emissions debate – in which the car companies have an interest – was worrying.
"Of course, a direct conflict of interest is always hard to prove, but it can certainly be said that some German car producers have good timing when it comes to donations and sponsorships," Rebecca Harms, co-president of the Greens, the fourth largest group in the European Parliament, told Reuters.
Talks have now concluded on the proposed legislation, with a vote set for the European Parliament on Tuesday. The parliament is expected to back a compromise deal, but the Greens say they will vote against it.
Transparency campaigners are also critical of the sponsorships.
"It is very worrying that governments, in return for relatively small amounts of sponsorship money, are willing to risk damaging their credibility and that of the EU presidency," said Olivier Hoedeman, research and campaigns coordinator at Corporate Europe Observatory, a Brussels corruption watchdog.
BMW and Audi say their sponsorship was only about raising their profile in European markets. Audi, for example, said it regularly applied via tenders to provide cars for events because "it helps the Audi brand to increase both reputation and popularity".
EU member states say there is nothing wrong with accepting corporate sponsorship and several of them have proudly announced their relationship with BMW or Audi, mentioning the deal in press releases and publicity material.
The specific countries involved in this period were Denmark, Cyprus, Ireland, Lithuania and Greece, which have held the EU presidency for six months each since January 2012.
Greece, which took over the presidency in January and has the free use of 69 Audi cars, posted information on its official website describing Audi as a "major sponsor", meaning it is providing support worth more than €150,000.
Spokespeople for the countries said they abided by rules on sponsorship, including that it must not lead to conflicts of interest.
Marcella Smyth, a spokeswoman for the Irish presidency, said that in an effort to deliver "a cost-effective presidency" a combination of contracts, including for the loaned cars, had saved a total of €1.4m. She added that Ireland had used public transport whenever possible and reserved the cars for driving ministers and other officials to and from airports.
A spokesman for the European Council, which represents heads of state and government, said the council did not keep systematic records of sponsorship, but the practice of car companies providing cars for free dates back years and in the past has included non-German as well as German companies.
A senior member of a Brussels-based public affairs consultancy said there were benefits to sponsorship, but that they were limited.
"It's certainly a very visible way of getting your name out there, but I think it's a bit far to suggest that this could influence the debate, if procurement procedures are followed," the consultant said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A representative of another consultancy, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "We would not advise any of our clients to sponsor the institutions or their activities."
Although the new EU emissions rules are the toughest so far in the world, they are a dilution of the original proposal from the European Commission, the EU's executive.
The Commission officially published its proposal in July 2012, seeking an existing limit of 130 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre (g/km) to be cut to 95 g/km by 2020.
An outline deal was first reached in June 2013, but that was torn up, paving the way, in November last year for a weaker agreement. That is the deal the parliament is expected to back on Tuesday.
Although the adjustments are relatively minor, they are enough to give breathing space to the carmakers.
(Thanks to Barbara Lewis & Reuters)
Connect Ireland, in conjunction with the NCDA Ltd., are hosting a second presentation of their
video and get to know you day, under the heading "Do You Know a Growing Company".
Connect Ireland want chauffeur operators/drivers to introduce people to them who may be
considering setting up new businesses, or expanding their current businesses, not only
in Ireland, but anywhere in Europe. Connect Ireland just need an introduction (name and
contact details), and they will do the rest in trying to entice these people to set up in
Ireland. If they are successful, and one job is created the introducer gets 1500.00 euro.
They also get 1500.00 euro for every additional job (10 jobs = 15,000.00 euro).
This presentation will take place in Shannon Airport this Friday, February 28th (12.30 to
13.30). Further details are available from Gerry Foley, Secretary, NCDA Ltd. (087-2548361)
As discussed at our AGM 2014, we are holding an open day in the West County Hotel on the 30th April at 12 noon until 16.00hrs. Amongst the Exhibitors we hope to have are Audi, Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Sparrow Insurance, Dunnes Insurance, AXA Insurance, Dents Away, Autosmart, Image Chemicals, Tyremaster, 3 Ireland, Vodafone, Connect Ireland, Discount Tyres & Gleeson’s (Bottled Water).
We would encourage members to actively seek further exhibitors for this day. If you know of any suppliers who could contribute to our inaugural chauffeur drivers open day, please feel free to email me and we will send out a cover note and booking form to them.
This event is not confined to NCDA Members; the event is open to all SPSV Drivers. Please pass the word around to encourage potential new members to attend the workshop; which may also encourage them to become a full member of the NCDA.
National Chauffeur Drive Association, Ireland.
The AGM of the Association took place on February 10th 2014, in
the West County Hotel, Dublin.
If any member requires details of the meeting, the minutes are available from the
Secretary Gerry Foley at firstname.lastname@example.org