Taxi Liaison Group - 25/02/2010
At a MEETING of the TAXI LIAISON GROUP held at Dundee on 25th February, 2010.
DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES
Bailie Roderick A J WALLACE
Councillor Tom FERGUSON
Councillor Andrew DAWSON
Councillor David BOWES
Councillor Elizabeth F FORDYCE
TAXI TRADE REPRESENTATIVES
Graeme STEPHEN, Dundee Taxi Association
Doug MARTIN, Tay Taxis
David YOUNG, Dundee Private Hire Ltd
Mike ESPOSITO, 505050
Erik THORESEN, Dundee Hackney Association
Chris ELDER, Unite the Union
Ian WHITTON, Handy Taxis
John CURRAN, Tele Taxis
TAYSIDE POLICE REPRESENTATIVES
Kevin WILLIAMS (Inspector)
Cammy FORBES, (Constable)
Neil CRUICKSHANK, (Constable)
Brian WOODCOCK, Senior Solicitor, Licensing
Mark DEVINE, City Development
Neil GELLATLY, City Development
Ian McCANDLESS, Dundee Contract Services
Bailie Roderick A J WALLACE, Convener, in the Chair.
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Stuart Galloway, Dundee City Council.
I MINUTE OF MEETING OF 11TH DECEMBER, 2009
The minute of meeting held on 11th December, 2009 was submitted and noted.
II MATTERS ARISING
(a) CCTV - UPDATE
Reference was made to Article VIII of the minute and Brian Woodcock advised that discussions were ongoing with Tayside Police in relation to the provision of facilities for the downloading of images should an incident occur outwith the opening hours of the City Council.
Further to this, Graeme Stephen of the DTA suggested that further funding be investigated for the provision of CCTV in light of the benefits that this would have for various organisations, including Tayside Police, in the course of investigations of any incidents whereby taxi drivers may be of assistance to them. Neil Gellatly advised the Group that he would look at the options available in relation to funding.
III DUNDEE HACKNEY ASSOCIATION
Items on agenda at request of Dundee Hackney Association.
(a) DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WAV's
Erik Thoresen advised the Group of his position in relation to the legislation affecting the wheelchair accessible vehicles and the need for further examination with a view to providing a resolution. Brian Woodcock advised the Group the national consultation on Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles had now overtaken recent local consultation and that the Scottish Government may be in a position to establish pilot areas within Scotland. Highlighted areas would be established in due course, however, in the meantime, there was noted the interest in the Dundee City area being one of the pilot areas.
Further to the previous item, Erik Thoresen explained his concern that operators of vehicles were not seen to retire from that position and that in many cases, a licence remained active for many years beyond normal retiral age, and expressed the view that after a certain period of time plates should be returned to allow entry of younger people to the trade.
(c) TAXI TESTS FOR WAV (PURPOSE BUILT)
Erik Thoresen expressed his concern about taxi tests for wheelchair accessible vehicles and his view that the test should take place on an annual basis. In reply, Ian McCandless explained the test based formula and the rationale behind taxi tests and the benefits this had for safety and maintenance of vehicles.
III DUNDEE TAXI ASSOCIATION
Items on agenda at request of Dundee Taxi Association.
(a) CAB OFFICER SHIFTS
Graeme Stephen raised the matter of shift patterns for Cabs Enforcement Officers. In reply, Inspector Williams advised that the shift pattern had been revised at the end of 2009 and that the Cabs Officers currently worked Monday to Friday with variance of hours, if required, relevant to operations at that time. Further to this, Graeme Stephen advised his concerns about taxis utilising or operating at the casino and within the vicinity of Lidl's. In reply, Inspector Williams advised that briefings would take place over the coming months with police officers who would be on duty of issues in relation to enforcement of regulations in relation to taxis and private hires to assist the service that they could provide to public and licence holders jointly.
(b) REMOVING NAMES FROM TAXI DOORS
Graeme Stephen advised us of his concerns in relation to names of individual operators or drivers being present on the doors of taxis and his wish for this detail to be removed in the interest of safety for the operator or driver. Brian Woodcock advised that he had made contact with Edinburgh City Council in relation to the scheme they operated, whereby the name of the Council and badge number were present only and that a report would be forthcoming to a meeting of the Committee in April 2010 recommending the adoption of a similar practice in Dundee.
(c) TAXI CARD SCHEME
It was noted that following discussion, a report on the operation of the Taxi Card Scheme would be submitted to a future meeting.
(d) STREET TESTS
Graeme Stephen reported the concerns of members of his association that they felt that the current street test for potential taxi drivers was open to manipulation. In reply, Constable Forbes explained the examination procedures for the test and that individuals sat the test alone and supervised by a representative of the Cabs Enforcement Unit during full process. Mobile phones and any other devices which may be of benefit to the individual were handed in prior to the test commencing. There were currently nine versions of the test and these were regularly updated and that it provided for a 50/50 pass fail rate. At present, the test was set to be fair and individuals could pass if they studied for the exam. The Group noted the position and those members of the DTA who had been concerned about the operation of the test would be advised accordingly by their representative on the Taxi Liaison Group.
(e) TAXI/PRIVATE HIRE INSURANCE
Graeme Stephen expressed concerns that this matter generated a lot of discussion within his association and was concerned at safety matters for passengers and/or drivers should a private hire operator or driver pick up a passenger in the street without a prior booking. In this respect, Graeme Stephen referred to various opinions expressed by insurance companies. In replying, Inspector Williams reported that this issue had been passed to the Force Solicitor of Tayside Police for further examination in relation to information received from both insurance companies and the Procurator Fiscal's office and that the outcome may be reported to the next meeting of the Taxi Liaison Group following consultation with the Legal Officer of Dundee City Council.
IV TAXI TESTS
Ian McCandless explained changes coming into operation from 1st April, 2010 in relation to taxi tests and that notification would be issued out to licence holders. Further to this, it was explained that proper notification of when the taxi test was due was notified out to the licence holders in sufficient time to allow them to prepare their vehicle and remedy any issues which were required to be fixed to allow the smooth passage of the vehicle through the test.
V TAXI RANK REVIEW
NUMBER OF TAXI RANK SPACES IN TOWN CENTRE
There was submitted a report by Neil Gellatly, Head of Transportation, providing an update on the investigation into city centre taxi rank provision.
It was reported that a meeting had been held on 25th August, 2010 at which time representatives of the taxi trade were present and the following matters were investigated and outcomes were as follows:-
(i) Possible Removal of the Bus Stop (near the Overgate Shopping Centre) in Nethergate?
(a) Present Situation
This was a busy bus stop for city buses and Fife buses, with the majority of passengers alighting. Every bus in the High Street stopped here if someone wished to get off. The recommended distance between bus stops was approximately 400 metres. For east-bound services, the distance between the nearest upstream bus stop (University) was approximately 330 metres. The distance to the nearest downstream bus stop was approximately 220 metres. The bus stop was used as a timing point when early buses could sit longer before moving on to the High Street stop.
(b) Implications if removed
The distance between the University stop and the High Street would exceed recommendations (approximately 550 metres). If this timing point was removed, previous experience had shown that buses sit at back of the High Street stances and disrupt the pedestrian crossing facility east of the churches. If this stop was removed, overcrowding on the High Street stops would result.
Bus stop could not be removed.
(ii) Taxi Rank Signage/St Andrew's, St Paul's
The pedestrian signage in the city centre was being reviewed and due to be amended within the near future. Taxi rank signing would be considered as part of this review.
(iii) Ranks in vicinity of Meadowside
A site survey was carried out on 24th November.
It was undesirable to provide a rank on the west side of the section of road between Commercial Street and Panmure Street junctions. There was little capacity from the stop line location and taxis would require to U-turn to join the rear of the rank at the traffic signals.
A taxi rank could be accommodated north of Panmure Street junction, west side facing north. A length of 12 metres would allow three taxis without compromising the visibility at the junction to the north.
(iv) St Paul's Cathedral Rank
A short rank could be accommodated on the south side of High Street, west of the Commercial Street junction and still allow servicing for the cathedral and adjacent premises. A 12 metre, three rank space facing westwards could be accommodated - subject to vehicle swept path checks between the head of the proposed rank and the islands at the pedestrian crossing.
(v) Perth Road, DCA Rank
It was possible to accommodate an evening rank outside the DCA but of limited length not to affect the requirements for servicing at DCA and The Cathedral. (12 metres long, facing westwards).
(vi) Pedestrian access closure - car park across from Fat Sams Nightclub?
Vehicular access was at a formalised approved access point from the car park on to South Ward Road until the implementation of the closure affecting South Ward Road, at which time vehicular access and egress was from an access point adjacent to the Argyll House frontage. There were no other restrictions of vehicular use within this private car park and no road safety concerns outwith the time of temporary road closure or at times when the closure was in place. There was no pedestrian safety issue, especially when the section of South Ward Road was closed to through vehicular traffic. There was therefore no reason or legislative power to close this access to pedestrians at the time of road closure.
(vii) Signage/Road Markings
Signage - already discussed in this report.
Website - to be explored.
Taxi rank road markings - this would require to be programmed as part of the waiting restriction maintenance operations for next financial year. This years budget had been fully taken up.
(viii) West Bell Street/Marketgait Signage
The exemption sign replacement at West Bell Street/Marketgait right turn, to include taxis, had been ordered.
(ix) High Street, Lochee
Up-dated plan to be tabled at next meeting.
(x) Reform Street/Meadowside Junction
Traffic flow was relatively light. It was difficult to physically deter pedestrians crossing diagonally at controlled crossings. There was no accident history at this junction to cause concern although further investigations would be carried out.
A traffic detection loop near the stop line was to be provided to aid taxi detection on approach from the nearby taxi rank. This would be arranged as part of a batch order for this type of work.
The Group noted the outcomes as indicated in the report. The Group further noted that in the process of planning for new developments which would attract members of the public that it would be desirable for provision of taxi rank spaces to be considered as part of the planning process.
Roderick A J WALLACE, Convener.