Taxis, hackneys and limousines (SPSVs)


Taxis, hackneys, and limousines are types of small public service vehicles (SPSVs). To drive an SPSV, you need a special licence and the vehicle you are driving must be licenced to carry passengers. SPSVs can have seating for up to 8 people.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) is the government agency that issues taxi, hackney and limousine licences, and regulates the industry.

It is unlawful to provide SPSV services without an appropriate licence. You can check if a driver is licenced online.

What is the difference between a taxi, a hackney, and a limousine?

Taxis, hackneys, and limousines are licenced to carry passengers, but there are differences in the types of services that they can provide.

Taxis can:

  • Be hailed down, or wait in taxi ranks for passengers
  • Pick up passengers without pre-booking
  • Be pre-booked (through an app or control station, or by prior arrangement with the taxi driver)

Taxis must:

  • Be fitted with a taximeter (which displays and measures fares)
  • Have information on how fares are calculated displayed inside the vehicle
  • Be equipped with a physical device/terminal to accept cashless payments
  • Obey the taxi fare rules set out by the NTA (see ‘how are fares calculated?’ below).
  • Have a roof sign
  • Be able to give receipts

Wheelchair accessible taxis must also be able to accommodate at least one person sitting in a wheelchair and one sitting passenger.

Hackneys can:

  • Be pre-booked only. They cannot be hailed down or pick up passengers waiting at taxi ranks. The exception is Local Area Hackneys, which are specially licenced to operate in rural communities and can use an approved hackney stand.
  • Arrange prices in advance. They do not have to use a taximeter and there is no maximum fare.

Hackneys must:

  • Display the driver’s hackney licence on the dashboard
  • Be able to give receipts

Limousines must:

  • Be suited in style and condition to ceremonial occasions.
  • Be pre-booked. Limousines cannot be hailed down or pick up passengers on the street.
  • Arrange prices in advance. They do not use a taximeter and there is no maximum fare.

How are fares calculated?

If you are using a hackney or a limousine, you agree a price in advance. It is unlawful for the driver to charge you more than the agreed price.

Taxi fares are different. The NTA sets the maximum rates that can be charged, and a taximeter is used to calculate the distance travelled and the time spent in the taxi.

A taxi driver can charge you less than the amount on the meter, but you cannot be charged more.

Initial charges, tariffs, and extras

When you start your journey, the initial charge is already on the meter. This covers the first 500 meters of a journey or a period of 85 seconds.

After this, the fare will increase as time passes (if you are not moving, or moving very little), or as distance is covered. The rate depends on the tariff (either standard, premium or special premium). See the box below.

You may be charged for the following extras:

  • €1 for every extra adult passenger
  • €1 for every two children under 12 (first child is free)
  • Road tolls are charged in full
  • €2 for pre-booking
  • €140 (maximum) for soiling charge

Standard rates, premium rates, and special premium rates

Your taxi fare depends on whether you are traveling during the standard rate time, or one of the premium rate times.

Standard rates apply from Monday to Saturday between 8am and 8pm.

Premium rates apply between 8pm and 8am from Monday to Saturday, all day Sunday, and on public holidays that are not covered by special premium rates.

Special premium rates apply to taxi fares from 8pm on Christmas Eve to 8am on 26 December, and to fares from 8pm on 31 December to 8am on 1 January.

The rates are:

Taxi rates 
Rate Initial charge (first 0.5km or 85 seconds) Tariff A (next 14.5 km or 42 minutes) Tariff B (after 14.5 km or 42 minutes)
Standard €4.20 €1.30 per km or €0.46 per minute

Maximum - €23.20


€1.65 per km, or €0.58 per minute
Premium €4.80 €1.71 per km or €0.60 per minute

Maximum - €29.60


€2 per km, or €0.71 per minute
Special Premium €4.80 €2 per km or €0.71 per minute €2 per km or €0.71 per minute

What should I do if I am charged too much?

If you have a dispute about the fare, you can make a complaint to the National Transport Authority. If you booked the taxi through a dispatch operator, you should complain there first. You should get a receipt and, if possible, the driver’s details. You can read more in ‘How to make a complaint’ below.

What are the duties of taxi, hackney and limousine drivers?

What information should be displayed by SPSV drivers?

  • The vehicle licence number should be displayed on the roof taxi sign (taxis only)
  • Licence number, vehicle registration number and number of passengers the vehicle is licenced to carry should be on discs on the front and back windshield
  • Driver ID Card should be displayed on the dashboard
  • Details of fares (for taxis) and how to make a complaint should be clearly displayed in the front of the vehicle
  • You can check that your SPSV vehicle and driver are licenced using the TFI Driver Check APP.

Can a driver refuse to take me?

SPSV drivers cannot unreasonably refuse a fare, so long as it is below 30 kilometres distance. They can refuse you if you cannot show that you are able to pay the fare. They can also refuse to take you (or ask you to leave the vehicle) if you are acting in a disorderly, abusive, or offensive manner.

Does the driver have to take the shortest route?

Yes, the driver must take the shortest possible route to your destination.

Can a driver stop me from eating in their vehicle?

Yes, an SPSV driver may stop you from eating if it is reasonable to do so.

Does the vehicle have to be in good condition?

Yes, the vehicle should be clean and in good working order.


SPSVs cannot refuse to carry guide dogs or mobility aids and should do so at no extra cost. Wheelchair accessible vehicles must reach the standards that are set out in the NTA’s National Vehicle Standards.

What are my legal responsibilities as a passenger?

Passengers have legal responsibilities too. When travelling in a taxi, hackney, or limousine, you must:

  • Obey reasonable instructions, such as wearing your seatbelt or locking your door. You should also obey the driver if they ask you to leave the vehicle (because you are drunk or threatening for example).
  • Not damage the vehicle.
  • Not put the driver at risk.
  • Not insist on having your pet carried. The only animals a SPSV driver must carry are guide dogs or other assistance dogs.
  • Pay the fare.

How do I make a complaint?

You make a complaint online to the National Transport Authority, the regulator for SPSVs. You can get more about how to make a complaint about a taxi, hackney or limousine. If the incident you want to complain about is a criminal matter, you should complain to the Garda Síochána.

Further information and contacts

You can get more information on the regulation of taxi and small public service vehicles from the National Transport Authority. Information on taxis is also available on the Authority’s consumer website,

If you leave something behind in a taxi or hackney, you can find out about lost property.

National Transport Authority

Dún Scéine
Harcourt Lane
Dublin 2

Tel: (01) 879 8300
Page edited: 17 January 2024