The automatic renewal of vehicle licences for buses and taxis has been extended.
For the taxi industry, new regulations will be implemented which will extend the automatic renewal of taxi vehicle licences. To keep this process straightforward for everyone, there will be no application process.
These licences will be issued automatically, without prior test, and free of charge. Vehicles which have already received an automatic six month licence, will receive a further six month licence.
In addition, vehicles with a taxi licence that expires between October 10, 2020 and March 9, 2021 will receive a 12 month licence.
Vehicle owners will receive their automatic licence in the post before their current licence expires.
For the bus industry the issue of automatic 12 month licences, free of charge and without prior test, will also be extended.
This extension will allow an automatic 12 month licence to issue to all vehicles with a licence expiry between March 10, 2020 and March 9, 2021.
Only taxi and bus vehicles that have been previously tested and issued with a licence will be eligible under the temporary arrangements.
The move has been confirmed on Thursday evening by Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon.
She said: “I understand how difficult it has been for the bus and taxi industry in recent times and I have acted throughout the Covid crisis to provide regulatory easements to assist these important industries.
“Today I am pleased to provide further regulatory support to help ease some of the pressures they are facing.
“These industries are suffering from severe income loss and hardship and my Department’s statutory functions do not include the power to provide grant support for hardship or loss of income for the bus or taxi industries.
“Within my statutory powers as a regulator, I am further extending the issue of automatic licences, free of charge and without prior test, for the bus and taxi industries. I hope this further easement will assist the bus and taxi industry to continue to operate during these uncertain times as we move towards recovery.
“The urgency around this issue does not permit full public consultation. However, the PSNI and the Association of British Insurers have been advised of our proposed approach.
“Vehicle owners are reminded of the necessity to keep their vehicle in a roadworthy condition, to ensure that their vehicle is insured and be aware that the usual compliance measures are in place to ensure road safety.”