Taxi Liaison Group - 18/12/2012
At a MEETING of the TAXI LIAISON GROUP held at Dundee on 18th December, 2012.
DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL OFFICER REPRESENTATIVES
Stuart GALLOWAY, Principal General Services Officer, Corporate Services Department
Brian WOODCOCK, Senior Solicitor, Licensing, Corporate Services Department
John BERRY, City Development Department
Dave LINDSAY, City Development Department
TAXI TRADE REPRESENTATIVES
David YOUNG, Dundee Private Hire 203020 Ltd
Steve CASHLEY, Dundee 505050 Taxis
Graeme STEPHEN, Dundee Taxi Association
George HARRIS, Tay Taxis
John CURRAN, Tele Taxis
Chris ELDER, Unite the Union
TAYSIDE POLICE REPRESENTATIVES
Conrad TRICKETT, (Chief Inspector)
Cammy FORBES, (Constable)
John CALDWELL, (Constable)
Also in attendance:-
Richard WHEATER, People 1st
Kenneth KIDD, Dundee City Council
Ian McCANDLESS, Dundee City Council
Stuart GALLOWAY, in the Chair.
I MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING
The minute of meeting of the Taxi Liaison Group held on 10th July, 2012 was submitted and noted for information and record purposes.
II DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL
Items on agenda at request of Dundee City Council:-
(a) TAXI TEST - NEW GUIDANCE
There was tabled a copy of new guidance on the taxi test. Stuart Galloway reported that this document informed of the outcome of the Sub-Group which had been formed to look at this matter and report back to a meeting of the Group.
The Group noted that should they have any observations on the content of the document they should advise Stuart Galloway.
(b) FRONT FACING CCTV
Stuart Galloway reported that front facing CCTV had been developed and was available to the Trade and that they may find this useful to operate in tandem to CCTV which was currently available to the Trade for safety and security within the vehicle. Front facing CCTV may also be useful to Trade members in the event of any potential insurance claim as insurers were aware and reported instances of organised crime where vehicles may have been deliberately crashed into taxis for financial gain.
The Group noted that the Council had no objection to the installing and operating of front facing CCTV within taxis and private hire vehicles, subject to observance of the same agreed criteria for the management of current CCTV usage within taxis and private hire vehicles.
The Group further noted that the CCTV System provided by CIGNUS was the only current system which had been approved by Dundee City Council and Tayside Police and met their requirements. On this basis, internal sticker signage may be developed by Dundee City Council and Tayside Police providing reassurance to any passengers that imagery and sound recorded could only be accessed by Dundee City Council and Tayside Police in the event of any reported incident. The installation of CCTV systems within vehicles may also be noted during the course of the Taxi Test and confirmation that the operator had approval for installation from the Council and Tayside Police may be established. The requirement that CCTV may be installed within a vehicle licensed for the carriage of passengers with the approval of Dundee City Council and Tayside Police may be included in licence conditions.
The Group noted the report.
(c) NATIONAL ENTITLEMENT CARD (NEC) EVENT
Stuart Galloway reported that feedback from George Harris on the NEC event held in October had been very positive. Further collaborative working groups would be held and if any members of the Trade were interested in attending they should contact Eleanor Brown, Chief Executive's Department direct if they wanted to be involved. Further to this, Steve Cashley mentioned technological advancements may mean that i-phone applications may have the ability to read cards.
The Group noted the report and that further updates would be provided at future meetings of the Group.
(d) TAXI FARES
(i) Annual Fares Review
It was reported that the statistical data used to inform the fares increase had been collated and an increase of 3.86% had been calculated. However, applying a 3.86% increase to 15p would bring the 1/10 mileage rate to 15.58p - which fell short of the threshold of 15.7p when the increase became applicable. A decision was required as to the increase on the drop which would be 11p, ie 2.98.
The Group agreed to the fares review and that the increase would also apply to the taxi test and to note that this would still mean that meters had to be tested. Discussions were ongoing with meter companies. The test process was outlined.
The Group noted that a report would be submitted to the January meeting of the Licensing Committee for approval following which the fares review would be advertised and if there were any objections the matter would be remitted back to the Committee.
(ii) Carriage of Items - Exemptions
It was reported that the extra charge had been in place for a considerable time and was applied for each parcel carried in the luggage compartment, boot or rack. There were exemptions for prams and loose groceries or shopping.
A complaint had been received from a disabled member of the public about the carriage of walkers and it was recommended that these be added to the list of exempt items in the fares structure.
The Group discussed this matter during which it was considered that the change to conditions be as follows:- "any fare including guide dogs or other items to assist the carriage of disabled passengers". The Regulations did indicate however that there was no charge allowed for guide dogs.
The Group agreed to the inclusion of the condition as indicated and that this formed part of the taxi driver conditions as of 1st April, 2013.
(e) TAXI TOTEM
Stuart Galloway reported that City Development were in the process of erecting a taxi totem at the Nethergate rank. The totem would include information for public on taxis such as, typical costs of certain journeys and also how to make a complaint. Other information could be included such as occasions when a rank or ranks were to be suspended and information in relation to the carriage of wheelchair passengers. The information may be presented in a bullet point format. It was noted that this may help to expel any incorrect information for the public and Trade alike such as different fares for different types of taxis and also cross-boundary charges. The totem would also include the fare card and also that prior agreement had to be reached with passengers for any journey outwith the City boundary with the driver in advance.
The Group welcomed the suggestions and noted that the information would be issued to the Trade for their consideration before it was provided on the totem.
(f) PROTECTION OF VULNERABLE GROUPS - (PVG) SCHEME
John Berry reported on the migration of people from Disclosure Scotland to the PVG scheme and how this affected school transport.
The Group noted the position.
(g) TRAINING FOR DRIVERS - UPDATE
Richard Wheater of People First reported on the background to training for drivers. The purpose of the training was to both recognise the skills already held by members of the Trade but also increase their skills generally. By doing this, the Trade would also be able to further improve the level of service to the public and especially tourists. The training programme provided by his company was currently running in Renfrewshire and West Lothian. The assessment process was explained and that the training would be provided on a multiple choice basis. There would be eight modules, including one on customer service. It was suggested successful completion of this training would be part of the condition of licences for Taxi Drivers and Private Hire Drivers in the long-term. In the meantime, a pilot would be established which may establish timescales for placing new drivers on courses. Similar courses were mandatory for new bus drivers.
The Group noted that the first class would be for between 12 and 16 drivers on the basis of three representatives from each of the member companies of the Group.
The Group further noted that Unite the Union were undertaking training programmes for taxi drivers and that these would be delivered on an SVQ basis and would commence January, 2013 and that Stuart Galloway would be welcome to observe a training should he so wish.
(h) TAXI SURVEY - UPDATE
Stuart Galloway circulated an extract from the advert on the invitation to tender for the taxi survey. The tendering process was explained.
The Group noted that the invitation to tender would be on the basis of an open tender process and that information on the application would be on the portal of Dundee City Council.
The Group further noted that their comments on the document and, in particular Section 4, would be welcomed by Stuart Galloway.
III DUNDEE PRIVATE HIRE (203020) LTD
Items on agenda at request of Dundee Private Hire (203020) Ltd:-
(a) LOGGING OF JOURNEYS
Dave Young reported on advancing, Personal Device Technology for Taxi Operators, and the possibility of this being cascaded for use within all areas of the Trade, including Street Car Operators, to allow for the logging up all their jobs electronically on such a device. It was reported that there were a number of inexpensive solutions available to record all their journeys, to not only help the police with any enquiry, as they do at licensed taxi offices, but to help the driver calculate their tax returns accurately. In this respect, it was highlighted by Tayside Police that the installation of CCTV within vehicles offered the best form of corroboration for any alleged incident within the vehicle reported to police.
The Group noted that other Councils would be contacted to establish practices within their local authority areas in this regard.
(b) ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Dave Young reported that "with the 60-40 split of vehicles" all but established that the proposed 'Saloon Car' part of the equation be replaced with electric vehicles.
Mr Young considered that Dundee City Council led the way with the introduction of these vehicles and that these at least be considered an alternative to the present City Centre petrol and diesel vehicles.
The Group noted that discussions were still ongoing and a decision had yet to be made.
IV DUNDEE TAXI ASSOCIATION
Items on agenda at request of Dundee Taxi Association:-
(a) TAXI RANKS
Graeme Stephen reported on enforcement practices at taxi ranks and the difficulty that drivers had gaining access on the rank. In this respect, Stuart Galloway reminded the Group of complaints which had been received from bus companies in relation to over-ranking which had been witnessed at various ranks within the City and the complaints stages in this regard. Dave Lindsay tabled a drawing from the City Engineers and advised that the possibility of a disabled bay being at the front of the rank at the train station and the use of this plan for enforcement measures.
The Group noted the position and that this matter would be further reported on to the next meeting of the Group.
Stuart Galloway tabled a report in light of CCTV footage which had been observed at the G Casino. It was reported that management at the G Casino had indicated that they were in agreement for door staff to assist with this and encourage patrons to migrate to safe points where they may access a taxi.
The Group noted the position and that Neil Gellatly would be submitting a report to a future meeting of the Committee on the management of the corner at the G Casino and the possibility of use of evening traffic wardens to assist with enforcement of traffic regulations at this area in the interests of safety and security of public.
V UNITE THE UNION
Item on agenda at request of Unite the Union:-
(a) CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE - TAXI TESTS
Chris Elder reported on the possibility of the Taxi Test and MOT Test being combined. In this respect, Ian McCandless reported on the differentiations at this current time between the various parts of the Taxi Test and MOT Test.
The Group noted that this possibility would be further examined.
VI DUNDEE 505050 TAXIS
Item on agenda at request of Dundee 505050 Taxis:-
(a) CORPORATE LICENCES
Steve Cashley tabled a proposal for the establishment of Corporate Licences to allow taxi operators to better realise their investment in the Trade.
The Group noted that there were a variety of possibilities still being considered and that decision had still to be made.
Stuart GALLOWAY, Chair.