“I believe that, given the technology at our disposal, and Ireland’s leadership role in drafting EU legislation for taximeters in 2004, Ireland is now in a prime position to modernise this entire sector, by introducing smart taximeters across Europe. These smartmeters would be connected to GPS and a sim card, and would allow a central authority to track the journeys and revenue taken. This would have a significant impact on fraud, which is estimated at around 10% of European taxi revenue, around €2.5bn per annum which is being lost to exchequers right across Europe”.
Senator Noone continued: “This industry is ripe for innovation. While we have seen private operators like Uber and Hailo modernising it from the consumer-side, we could now see Ireland coming to the fore and modernising the regulation side in the same way. A new directive which proposes online taximeters for all of the EU, based in Ireland, would allow for job creation in Ireland while spurring innovation”.
Senator Noone added: “This introduction would follow the template of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), which registers the Community Trade Mark in the European Union, whereby the office is now based in Alicante (having been proposed by Spain) and has been highly successful in dealing with the previously messy system. It also raises approximately €300m per annum for the Spanish exchequer. Based on this template, assuming a 1% fee to the industry to run this agency, there is the potential of €250m in income for the Irish economy, while also ensuring savings for each national exchequer of €2.25bn per annum. Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, has said repeatedly that the current system isn’t working – and she’s right. We need to revolutionise this, and I believe Ireland can show the way”.