Taxi Liaison Group - 18/08/2009
At a MEETING of the TAXI LIAISON GROUP held at Dundee on 18th August, 2009.
DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES
Bailie Roderick A J WALLACE
Councillor Tom FERGUSON
Councillor Laurie BIDWELL
Councillor Andrew DAWSON
Councillor Elizabeth FORDYCE
Councillor David BOWES
TAXI TRADE REPRESENTATIVES
Graeme STEPHEN, Dundee Taxi Association
Doug MARTIN, Tay Taxis
David YOUNG, Dundee Private Hire Ltd
Mike ESPOSITO, 505050
Erik THORESEN, Dundee Wheelchair Taxi Association
Chris ELDER, Transport and General Workers' Union
Ian WHITTON, Handy Taxis
TAYSIDE POLICE REPRESENTATIVES
Neil ANDERSON, (Sergeant)
Neil CRUICKSHANK, (Constable)
Stuart GALLOWAY, Principal General Services Officer
Brian WOODCOCK, Senior Solicitor, Licensing
Mark DEVINE, City Development
Neil GELLATLY, City Development
Bailie Roderick A J WALLACE, Convener, in the Chair.
(a) DUNDEE CELEBRATE AGE NETWORK FORUM - TAXI REPORT - RESULTS OF MYSTERY TRAVELLING PROJECT
Susan Gunn and Jan Goodall gave a joint presentation on the Mystery Travelling - Taxi Report carried out by the Celebrate Age Network Forum. It was reported that the Celebrate Age Network Forum sampled Dundee's taxis in May and June 2009. Volunteers, with ages ranging from 63 to 90 took 78 journeys to find out how good taxi services were. The project was funded by Dundee City Council City Development Department.
Positive points from the report were highlighted, together with areas where improvement may be achieved.
The Group noted the content of the presentation.
(b) CCTV IN TAXIS - MOTORSOUND
David Phillips, Sales Manager of Motorsound, gave a presentation on the CCTV package offered by his company for installation and use in taxis and private hire cars in Dundee.
The Group noted the content of the presentation and agreed that this product was not suitable for further consideration.
II MINUTE OF MEETING OF 22ND DECEMBER, 2008
The minute of meeting held on 22nd December, 2008 was submitted and noted subject to amendment to Article III(e) "Decriminalised Parking Enforcement" to reflect that the Group noted that there would be further discussion on parking infringements prior to implementation.
III CCTV IN TAXIS - UPDATE
Stuart Galloway updated the Group as follows:-
(a) INSTALLATION OF CAMERAS
All participants in the scheme reported that the installation process was quick and simple.
(b) EASE OF USE
All participants reported that the cameras were easy to use.
(c) PUBLIC REACTION
Participants reported that the reaction of taxi users was in the main positive. There were some negative reactions but once the benefits to the taxi users were explained, their opinions changed.
Only one person contacted the Licensing Office and this was regarding the use and storage of the images but again, once the fact that images were not readily available was explained, he accepted the position.
(d) GENERAL COMMENTS
One participant had to have the camera replaced and was advised that there were no spare parts for them. Problems associated with drug using passengers and drunk passengers had reduced.
There were initial problems loading software but they were eventually overcome.
A test of all participants was carried out, and in three cases, the data could not be found on the card. In the other cases images were found and were clear and the audio was audible. The problems could be with the type of flashcard as those which could not be read were of the same type.
The problems were to be raised with the supplier at a meeting on 15th September and further tests would be carried out.
In general the installation of CCTV was seen to be a benefit both to taxi drivers and to taxi users.
The Group noted the update.
IV LICENCE APPLICATIONS (DTA)
Graeme Stephen of the DTA requested that details of all taxi licence and taxi driver applications were placed on the agenda for the Licensing Committee each month.
The Group noted that this would be implemented as of meeting of the Licensing Committee to be held in September 2009.
V LICENSING OF TAXI AND PRIVATE HIRE OFFICES
(a) It was reported that the DTA would like to see taxi and private hire offices be held responsible for private hire cars picking up from the street, as the office would be aware if they had been given a job or not. Taxi offices could also assist in stamping out hire plates as they were also aware of who was paying fees and who was collecting the credits etc. This could be done as of 16th November, 2009 with the introduction of licensing of taxi and private hire offices.
The Group noted that a report on conditions of Licensing of Taxi and Private Hire Offices would be submitted to meeting of the Licensing Committee to be held in October 2009.
(b) Taxi Offices - visits by members of Licensing Committee to observe operations.
The Convener advised the Group that members of the Licensing Committee would welcome the opportunity to visit all Taxi and Private Hire Offices to observe operations.
VI ADVERTISING ON PRIVATE HIRE CARS
(a) It was reported that the DTA would like the Committee to reconsider its policy of allowing advertising on private hire cars and submitted a document in this regard. Their view was that advertising should not be permitted and the practice in other areas be investigated. Some examples of practice in other areas identified by the DTA were:-
(i) Advance Bookings Only
(ii) "Advanced Bookings Only", the Name of the Operator and its telephone number
(iii) THIS VEHICLE MUST BE PRE-BOOKED
(iv) NOT BOOKED NOT INSURED
A summary of policies in other areas obtained by the Council was also submitted.
(b) It was reported that there was a system in operation by a Private Hire Company in Glasgow which could assist the identification of private hire vehicles and also provide a service to the public in the interests of community safety.
When a private hire vehicle was ordered from a Company through a mobile phone they operated a system where an automated text message was sent back to the mobile phones of person who made the booking telling them that vehicle would be arriving shortly and giving details of the vehicle including colour, make, model and registration number therefor leaving public in no doubt about the validity of vehicle they are entering and that it was easily identifiable as a private hire vehicle.
From landline, a return call was made to number and an automated message is given, advising that vehicle was arriving shortly at that address.
As many people used mobiles rather than landlines as a result of various packages and offers, the safety offered by above system for people whether they be in a town centre at night or at home could have considerable benefits and may have been worthwhile exploring by private hire or taxi offices.
The Group noted that contact would be made with company with a view to obtaining further information on the system used.
VII TAXI RANKS AND SIGNAGE
(a) It was reported that the TGWU and DTA would like Taxi signs and notice boards at the front of ranks, signs at bus/taxi lanes to be marked properly and more rank spaces.
The Group noted that a short term working group would be convened by Planning and Transportation to examine these matters with a report back to the next meeting of the Taxi Liaison Group.
(b) TAXI MATTERS
Neil Gellatly, Head of Transportation reported as follows:-
(a) COMMERCIAL STREET
No changes to hours of restriction have been progressed. Vicinity of Commercial Street/Murraygate still being reviewed including pedestrian movements as well as use by unauthorised vehicles.
Traffic Co-ordinating Group does not support any relaxation of existing restrictions.
(b) TAXI RANKS
Significant contact from Taxi Trade regarding this matter. Traffic Team Leader would contact Taxi Trade Membership of the Taxi Liaison Group to create working group.
(c) DECRIMINALISED PARKING ENFORCEMENT (DPE)
The DPE efforts have been unable to prevent ongoing use of Bus Stops by taxis. Bus operators formally complained to Dundee City Council and have been reporting observations directly to Taxi Licensing since July 2009.
Possible solution identified with the cost of up to 2,000 per rank. Ask the Taxi Rank Group to agree locations to proceed with (funded by Taxi Trade). City Development staff to maintain the posters which would detail fare information, complaints, contact numbers for 24 hour taxi offices.
The Group noted the update.
VIII GROUP 2 MEDICAL STANDARDS FOR TAXI DRIVERS
Stuart Galloway reported on Group 2 Medical Standards and that drivers should, as required in conditions, advise Licensing of medical conditions or illness.
The Group agreed that conditions be varied to include those conditions as may be covered by Group 2 standards and that this be effective from renewal period in May 2010.
Roderick A J WALLACE, Convener.