February 24, 2021
News

Country cabs: Kilkenny communities could benefit from new rural-urban taxi system

RURAL Kilkenny towns and villages could benefit from a new “county cabs” system to improve public transport for people living in isolated areas.

The ambitious ‘Ruxi’ or rural-urban taxi scheme has been proposed by Fine Gael Minister Jim Daly.

The ‘Ruxi’ scheme would see locals who are Garda vetted and use their own cars fulfil the roles of cab drivers in the area.

The idea is based on the Uber system which lets local drivers and passengers needing a lift find each other via an app.

All vehicles used as cabs would have to be NCT certified and drivers would only have to travel a maximum of 15km from their home town.

Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) Chief Executive Padraig Cribben said there is a crisis in rural communities that requires immediate action.

“We need a solution that works for rural Ireland. The problem with transport is decades old but since the introduction of new drink driving legislation last October the public are suffering from a lack of clarity on what these changes mean, consequently people are staying at home for fear of checkpoints,” he said in a statement.

“The fabric of rural life is being torn apart but all we’ve had so far by way of a solution is the Minister for Transport’s woefully inadequate Local Link night service, introduced as a pilot scheme. Recent reports reveal cancelled services while remaining routes are wholly unsuitable for people not living within walking distance of the route.”

The VFI says the innovative ‘Ruxi idea would go some way to solving the problem of rural isolation.

“I’m encouraged to see Minister Daly is meeting the National Transport Authority on 9th February to present his ‘Ruxi’ idea. Fianna Fail has also voiced its support saying an Uber-style service could bring about a resurgence in social life,” Mr Cribbin added.

“Tinkering around the edges won’t work, as proved by the Local Link pilot scheme. We need sustainable solutions that work for rural communities.

“What we have had so far is pious platitudes from a political elite that has no understanding of rural life.”

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