To receive and consider report 56/09 of the Head of Legal and Democratic Services.
The committee received and considered report 56/09 of the Head of Legal and Democratic Services. The report gave feedback from the taxi and private hire trade on the proposed revision to the hackney carriage and private hire driver, vehicle and operator’s policy. The trade’s comments were set out in the report and the committee was asked to consider these before deciding whether the policy should be further amended before being to the council on 28 October.
The committee carefully considered each submission and made the following comments:
· Side loading of disabled passengers – the committee considered that the policy should be amended to allow for side-loading of disabled passengers only, instead of rear loading. However, where existing licenced vehicles allowed rear loading this was permissible so long as the licence not lapse and s not transferred to another person.
· The committee considered removing the option to have magnetic licence plates and magnetic door stickers and noted comments from members of the trade might cause paint to fade on the vehicle. The committee noted that adhesive stickers would be no different and in the interests of safety and for the prevention of misuse the committee accepted the recommendation from the officers to remove magnetic licence plates and stickers in the interests of safety and for the prevention of misuse.
· The committee considered identification stickers for private hire vehicles exempted from displaying the licence plate and again noted comments from members of the trade. One respondent commented that this policy should be made compulsory as all passengers should be aware that they re in a licensed vehicle. The committee accepted the proposal that discreet identification stickers must be displayed in exempted private hire vehicles.
· The committee considered the council’s definition of a low emission vehicle. Previously a low emission vehicle was defined as one in a tax band of A or B. The committee approved the definition of a low emission vehicle as one with CO2 emissions of 120g/km or lower.
· The committee considered the policy of vehicles not needing to display signage while being used for weddings. The committee accepted the recommendation to remove this provision from the draft policy, reverting to the current position where both identification stickers and roof signs should be displayed throughout the period a vehicle was licensed, even when used for weddings.
· The committee examined the introduction of disability awareness training for hackney carriage and private drivers. A number of comments were received from members of the trade, namely that the policy should not be introduced for all drivers but just for those drivers who operated vehicles that had been adapted for disabled drivers. However the committee considered that all drivers should be trained. The committee approved the proposal for compulsory disability awareness training to be undertaken by drivers within the first six months of licensing for new applications (after the date of the introduction of the new policy) and for existing licensed drivers within the first six months of licence renewal.
· The committee considered the requirement for drivers to undergo medical examination every three years. One respondent suggested that five years was sufficient. he committee approved the proposal for medicals to be carried out every three years, in line with best practice guidance from the Department of Transport.
· The committee considered the requirement for proof of right to work and prevention of illegal working. The committee confirmed the proposal to require all applicants (new or renewing drivers and operators) to prove their right to work in the UK and for licences to only be issued for a period consistent with their right to work if their right to work was not permanent.
· No time scale had been included in the policy for the introduction of a prescribed fixing location for the door stickers. The officers suggested a phased approach. The committee agreed that door stickers should be affixed both horizontally and vertically central on the rear passenger doors of hackney carriages.
· The revised draft policy suggested that the vehicle registration document should be in the same name as the applicant. However the committee noted that some taxi operators leased their vehicles. The committee agreed to amend the wording to that door stickers should be affixed both horizontally and vertically central on the rear passenger doors of hackney carriages. The committee agreed that each new vehicle licensed should have stickers displayed in the new prescribed manner and that currently licensed vehicles should have stickers relocated if necessary if the licence lapses or s transferred to another person or new stickers re required.
(a) that authority be delegated to the Head of Legal and Democratic Services to update the draft policy in the light of the comments made by the committee and prepare an amended version for recommendation to the council;
R E C O M M E N D E D
(b) that the council adopts the hackney carriage and private hire driver, vehicle, and operator’s policy (attached) with effect from 1 January 2010; and
(c) that authority be delegated to the Head of Legal and Democratic Services to make any minor changes to the policy.