What does SPSV stand for?

SPSV stands for Small Public Service Vehicle. These are taxis, hackneys and limousines. In Ireland an SPSV license is regulated by the National Transport Authority (NTA).

A driver license is issued and regulated by An Garda Síochána.


As a passenger you are required to pay the total metered or lesser agreed fare for each hire. A pre-agreed fare should be recorded in writing before the journey commences.

Taxi drivers are obligated to offer a printed receipt at the end of each journey.

Fares are calculated using a taximeter, which is a mechanical device installed in taxis that calculates passenger fares based on a combination of distance travelled and waiting time.

Hackneys and limousines are not required to install a taximeter. Your fare is agreed before your journey.


A taxi is an SPSV which can be hired on the street, at a taxi rank or pre-booked. Taxis must carry prescribed branding (see customer information cards) and be fitted with a taximeter, printer and roof sign. Taxis can also use bus lanes when working.

Wheelchair Accessible Taxi (WAT)

These taxis must meet a number of additional vehicle requirements designed to allow at minimum one person seated in their wheelchair, with one other passenger. They must also give priority booking to people with disabilities.

It is a condition of wheelchair accessible vehicle licences that the booking details of such licences are held on the NTA’s register. This is to enable intending passengers to engage their services.

If you have difficulty obtaining an accessible service you can download the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) Register on our website. Alternatively, call the NTA Information Line on 0761 064000 or email taxis@nationaltransport.ie.


A hackney is an SPSV that can be pre-booked only. They are not permitted to pick up passengers who are trying to hail a taxi on the street or stand in taxi ranks. The fare must be agreed with the passenger before the journey takes place. Hackneys are also not allowed to use bus lanes and do not need to be fitted with a taximeter. The driver is obligated to carry a proof of booking for all fares.

Wheelchair Accessible Hackney (WAH)

Similar to WATs, these hackneys must be equipped to carry at least one passenger seated in their wheelchair with at least one other passenger.

Local Area Hackney (LAH)

This hackney is licensed for a designated pick up area, usually working within 5 to 7 kilometres from the licence holders’ address. LAHs are vital to rural communities where access to adequate public transport is currently not possible or available at the times required.


This is an SPSV that is used for ceremonial, corporate or other prestige purposes. It can only be pre-booked and the fare must be agreed in advance. Limousines must not use bus lanes and do not need to be fitted with a taximeter.

The driver is obliged to carry proof of booking for all fares, with the exception of being engaged for wedding or funeral services.

Dispatch Operators

Dispatch Operators provide a booking service or other facility to arrange SPSV journeys, and are licensed by the National Transport Authority.



You can check the validity of any vehicle, driver or dispatch operator licence by visiting the Authority’s public on-line register.

Taxis: Taxi drivers may not charge more than the metered fare and must give customers a printed receipt.

Hackneys and limousines: Drivers may not charge more than the agreed fare and must give customers a written receipt.

SPSV (small public service vehicle) operators should be courteous, helpful and neatly dressed. SPSV operators should have a good working knowledge of major routes and destinations, and should follow any direction or route chosen by the passenger. SPSV drivers must offer reasonable assistance with luggage. The vehicle should be clean and roadworthy.

It’s not uncommon to leave a personal item behind in a taxi or hackney. If you find yourself in this position here is what you need to do:

If you booked through a dispatch operator, contact them as soon as possible as they may be able to assist you in locating your property.

If the driver cannot return the item to you directly, they will generally hand it over to their nearest Garda Station.

View contact details here for the Garda stations around the country.

An Garda Síochána is responsible for lost property handed in by SPSV operators. When property is handed in, it is held for a minimum of 31 days up to 366 days depending on the nature or the value of the item, to allow the owner to claim it back.

You should contact your local Garda Station who can advise you if it has been handed in to any Garda station.

The Gardaí have a better chance of retrieving your property if you can provide them with the licence number of the taxi you were in, this is shown on your receipt.

If the item has not been handed in when you first make the enquiry, it may be worthwhile to ask again a week or so later, as the driver might not hand the item in immediately after it has been found.

Please have proof of identification on you when retrieving your property, as An Garda Síochána will need to see it before returning the item to you.

No. At a taxi rank the passenger may choose to travel in a taxi other than the one at the head of the queue.


SPSVs (small public service vehicles) must carry guide dogs and mobility aids at no extra charge for customers who need them.

If you feel you have received exceptionally good service and would like to commend the driver or SPSV operator, please call our Information Line on 0761 064000 with the details of the operator. (These details are shown on your receipt.)

A complaint form is available on this website here. Alternatively, complaint forms are available by calling our Information Line on 0761 064000. The complaint form must be completed, providing all relevant details regarding the incident. Send the completed form to us at the address shown on the form and enclose a copy of any receipt obtained for the journey in question, this will enable us to identify the operator who is the subject of the complaint.

We will investigate all formal complaints, and may invite any relevant witnesses to provide statements. When we have collected and evaluated this evidence, we may proceed in one of four ways:

  • By giving advice to the operator;
  • By issuing a formal warning to the operator;
  • By initiating prosecution proceeding against the operator; or
  • By taking no further action.

Action can be taken against an individual only if the evidence is of a sufficiently high standard. Complainants should be prepared to give evidence in court if necessary. We cannot process complaints made anonymously.

If the matter to which your complaint relates is of a criminal nature, you should contact An Garda Síochána. In an emergency ring 112 or 999.

If you think you are being overcharged for a taxi journey, you should pay the fare displayed on the taximeter, including extras, but make sure you get a receipt. The driver is legally required to give you a printed receipt from the printer attached to the taximeter. Check the details on the receipt:

  • The Taxi Licence number on the receipt should match that shown on the roof sign of the taxi.
  • The Registration number on the receipt should match the taxi’s registration plates.
  • The Date, Start time and End time shown should be correct.
  • The Total shown should match the amount paid.
  • The Distance should (in your estimation) be correct for the journey.

If any of these details are incorrect, or the driver is unable or unwilling to provide a receipt, the driver may be operating illegally. Keep a note of the discrepancies and contact a member of An Garda Síochána or the NTA’s Consumer Information Line on 0761 064000.


A taxi driver may reasonably refuse:

  • To undertake journeys of more than 30km;
  • To allow passengers to consume food or drink in the vehicle;
  • To carry, or continue to carry, passengers who are acting in a disorderly, abusive or offensive manner;
  • To carry, or continue to carry, passengers who are likely to soil or damage the vehicle.