EDITORIAL: What is a ‘RUXI’? – it would be a Irish Government endorsed Uber for rural areas

1 November 2018
By Mary Bermingham


You can please some of the people, sometimes

Being a politician is a difficult job. You cannot please everyone, and no matter who you DO manage to please you will concurrently DISplease some other group. Almost every decision is part of a zero-sum system.

Housing provides a perfect example:

people who own houses (typically older) love the fact that house prices are out-of-control,
people who are looking to buy (typically younger) would like house prices to be lower.

If you are a TD you will ask yourself – we assume – which side has more votes? For housing currently, the answer is the older vote, but that will change.

This week, another example manifested itself when a Cork Fine Gael TD issued a statement which relates not to housing, but to rural transport. His suggestion will please publicans and drinkers, but may alienate rural hackney drivers.

Jim Daly TD (Fine Gael) is a Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People. Fine Gael will run at least two candidates in Cork South West in the next General Election, the other being Senator Tim Lombard. Each Oireachtas member is currently vying to boost their respective profiles in the large constituency of Cork South West.

Cork South West Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Health has confirmed discussions have taken place with Transport Minister Shane Ross with a focus on addressing the shortage of available public transport in small rural towns across Ireland.

Minister Daly said, “My proposals is seeking to create a new level of taxi services for small rural towns, currently we have taxis and hackneys regulated in the State, we need a new less expensive and less cumbersome system for small rural towns. We are calling this new system “Ruxi” for discussion purposes.”

The proposal mooted by Minister Daly would see towns with a population of less than 5,000 people be served by the new “Ruxi” system. The car would need a valid NCT, the driver would need to be Garda vetted and the service would be authorised to serve a radius area of 15km of the town centre. Drivers who would like to be involved in providing a service would apply to be compiled in a register, a car would be called via a mobile app and the first driver to accept the fare will carry out the journey. Any driver with a full licence can get involved according to Minister Daly.

Jim Daly said “I constantly hear from many people who say they cannot get a spin home after going out for a night, so they just don’t bother going out, and they would love to see an “Uber” style taxis available in Ireland. I understand how this could be problematic in large urban areas, however there are many people living in small rural towns across West Cork who would love to do a little extra driving during the weekend to earn some extra income. Under current laws it is not legal for them to do so. I want to be clear here, this is not to replace taxi services, this would only kick in, in towns where there is currently no taxis operating and only very few hackneys, that are mostly booked out in advance.”

“Minister Ross was well disposed to the proposal and he is very eager to assist rural Ireland dwellers overcome the difficulties of getting home after a night out, he understands it is a significant issue in rural areas. The proposal is at an early stage of development and discussions will now continue with Minister Ross, The National Transport Authority and the Irish Insurance Federation” concluded Jim Daly.

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