Taxi Liaison Group - 21/05/2013
At a MEETING of the TAXI LIAISON GROUP held at Dundee on 21st May, 2013.
DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL OFFICER REPRESENTATIVES
Stuart GALLOWAY, Principal General Services Officer, Corporate Services Department
Brian WOODCOCK, Senior Solicitor, Licensing, Corporate Services Department
Neil GELLATLY, City Development Department
TAXI TRADE REPRESENTATIVES
Steve CASHLEY, Dundee 505050 Taxis
Doug INGLIS (for David YOUNG, Dundee Private Hire 203020 Ltd)
Graeme STEPHEN, Dundee Taxi Association
Geordie HARRIS, Tay Taxis
John CURRAN, Tele Taxis
Chris ELDER, Unite The Union
POLICE SCOTLAND REPRESENTATIVES
Fiona JARRETT (Inspector)
Cammy FORBES (Constable)
John CALDWELL (Constable)
Also in attendance:-
Stewart MURDOCH, Director, Leisure and Communities, Dundee City Council
Stewart DODD, Environment Department, Dundee City Council
Stuart GALLOWAY, in the Chair.
l MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING
The minute of meeting of the Taxi Liaison Group held on 18th December, 2012 was submitted and noted for information and record purposes.
II DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL
Items on agenda at request of Dundee City Council:-
(a) CITY OF CULTURE BID
Stewart Murdoch, Director, Leisure and Communities, Dundee City Council reported on the progress of the bid for Dundee to be named the City of Culture. Mr Murdoch advised of the help and assistance provided by members of the public in this regard and further advised the representatives of the Taxi Trade within Dundee that they too could make a positive contribution and to seek their assistance with the ambassadorial role they play for visitors to the City and the positive impressions they could convey. Mr Murdoch highlighted what the bid could mean for Dundee and the positive benefits by way of bringing increased income to the City. The Group noted the report and agreed that a review of the conditions for dress code be undertaken.
(b) TAXI TEST GUIDANCE
Stuart Galloway reported on Taxi Test Guidance. The Group noted the content of the guidance and that this would take effect from 1st June, 2013.
(c) METER TESTS
Stuart Galloway reported on meter tests.
The Group noted that feedback on the new arrangements had been positive.
Stuart Galloway reported on the progress of the survey.
The Group noted that Halcrow had been awarded the contract as they provided the best value. Rank surveys and passenger questionnaires would be carried out. The final report would be available in time for the meeting on 27th June, 2013. An Annual update had also been completed and updates were on the website.
The Group noted the report.
(e) DRIVER TRAINING
Stuart Galloway reported on the progress of driver training.
The Group noted that feedback was awaited and that consultation on the content of the test had been undertaken with the Scottish Qualification Association and Napier University.
III POLICE SCOTLAND (TAYSIDE DIVISION)
Items on agenda at request of Police Scotland (Tayside Division):-
(a) THE ISSUE OF PLATES AT TIME OF VEHICLE TEST
Constable John Caldwell reported that some operators were not producing insurance documents when attending at the cabs office for paperwork prior to testing. In most of these occasions, the vehicles were tested and the relevant certificate of fitness were passed back to the cabs office for retention pending the production of required documentation. The plate was affixed to the vehicle and the operator could ply for hire.
In a number of occasions, the operator had to be reminded to attend at the cabs office to produce documentation and uplift certificate, some certificates lay for several months. It was accepted that V5 documents could take several weeks to be dispatched from DVLA. There would be no change to the current procedure in this case.
The Group agreed:-
(i) that in circumstances where no insurance was produced at the cabs office, the vehicle would proceed to the test as booked (avoiding any re booking or loss of revenue) and, at the conclusion of the test, it was proposed that the plate be retained by the test station/cabs office;
(ii) to note that this would ensure that the vehicle could not be put into service without there being in force a certificate of insurance. The onus would then be on the operator to return with relevant proof of insurance (which may be faxed) at which time the plate would be issued along with the certificate of fitness; and
(iii) to note this proposal was in the interests of keeping people safe and legal.
(b) CARRIAGE OF CHILDREN UNDER THREE YEARS OF AGE IN TAXIS AND PRIVATE HIRE CARS
Constable John Caldwell reported on the content of the information sheet submitted and provided by Police Scotland (Tayside Division) to highlight the responsibilities of carrying children under three years of age in taxis and private hire cars.
The information sheet outlined the law in summary for ease of interpretation with a further reference to the primary legislation should anyone wish to refer to it in closer detail. The information sheet emphasised that the driver, in all circumstances, was responsible for passenger safety.
The Group noted the report.
IV DUNDEE TAXI ASSOCIATION
Items on agenda at request of Dundee Taxi Association:-
(a) WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE ENFORCEMENT ON BUS/TAXI LANES
Graeme Stephen reported that the DTA would like to see more enforcement on bus/taxi lanes.
Inspector Jarrett advised that the concerns expressed would be made known to operational policing.
(b) SOME WAY TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC AS TO DIFFERENCE WITH PRIVATE HIRE AND TAXIS
Graeme Stephen reported on the wish to educate the public as to difference with private hire and taxis with a view to having individual numbers for taxis and private hire vehicles which may be operated from the same office.
The Group noted that Brian Woodcock would check with other Councils as to what the position was within their local authority area.
(c) MORE TAXI RANKS AND SOME WAY IF POSSIBLE TO HAVE TAXIS SIT CLOSER TOGETHER ON TANKS (OFFICE CARS TAKING TOO MUCH SPACE)
The Group noted that this matter would be covered at Article V(c).
(d) TAXI MARSHALLS ON RANKS (CASINO)
The Group noted that this matter had been covered at Article IV(a).
(e) WOULD LIKE TO SEE COUNCIL LOOK FOR FUNDING FOR CCTV IN TAXIS
Graeme Stephen reported on the possibility of the Council investigating funding for CCTV in taxis.
Stuart Galloway commented that this matter would be investigated through the Community Safety Partnership. Neil Gellatly advised that parking attendants had CCTV and it had prevented physical abuse on many occasion.
Stuart Galloway passed round a notice for CCTV for displaying in taxis which was agreed by the Group for insertion in taxis.
The Group noted the update and also agreed to the notice with regard to CCTV for display in taxis.
(f) NO ADDITIONAL PLATES AT MOMENT AS WE DO NOT NEED SURVEY TO TELL US THAT THERE IS NO RANK SPACE
Graeme Stephen reported that it was considered that no additional plates be issued at the moment as it was considered that there was insufficient rank space.
In reply, Stuart Galloway advised that the position on the number of taxis would be known by the end of May and Brian Woodcock also explained the current position.
(g) MORE TAXI ENFORCEMENT AND WHEN CAB OFFICERS SUSPECT A CRIME HAS TAKEN PLACE IT SHOULD BE SENT ON TO POLICE SCOTLAND, TAYSIDE DIVISION, BELL STREET, DUNDEE
Graeme Stephen reported that it was considered that the above proposal would make more efficient use of the time of the cabs officer.
(h) TESTING OF TAXIS THAT DRIVERS GET ON LOAN FROM THEIR INSURANCE WHEN THEIR TAXI HAS BEEN SMASHED
Graeme Stephen reported on the above.
The Group noted the position on cars being transported between various areas and, as a result, could be operational within different local authority boundaries and what this meant for the testing of the vehicle.
The Group noted that Stuart Galloway would look into this matter and whether or not the vehicle in question was actually private hire.
V UNITE THE UNION
Items on agenda at request of Unite the Union:-
(a) TINTED WINDOWS
Chris Elder reported that he and Roger Paterson were discussing the present situation and Chris came up with a suggestion, if all taxis, whether they be carrying a full body wrap advert or in the case of the private hire who were allowed tinted windows, if it were made compulsory to having Council approved CCTV being fitted to either type of vehicle whether it be a full body wrap advert or tint, if this became compulsory this could eradicate all the Council and Tayside Police fears regards safety.
Chris advised that it was his understanding that the CCTV systems store the sound and visions for up to three weeks, if a situation arose the CCTV being made compulsory may allay fears regards public safety.
Unfortunately some of the newer estate cars came with tinted windows from the C pillar back; this was due to security in the luggage area, if this being the case in the future with certain car manufacturers maybe the choice of larger higher spec vehicles would become limited. Chris felt putting on higher end spec vehicles was good for the image of the city and comfort for the passenger/driver. Dundee with the V&A on the horizon, and the new railway station, and soon to be refurbished Tay Hotel by the Malmaison Hotel Group, one of the first images visitors would come in contact with was the public transportation system, having higher spec taxis could only be a good thing for the image of the City.
The Group noted the position and that any change in the policy would have to be agreed by Committee.
(b) PRIVATE HIRE
Chris Elder reported that any new private hire licence should be wheelchair accessible. Chris did not know if this was in the documents to go in front of the Licensing Committee as part of the capping of the town etc. Unite felt that once the cap on the hackneys was implemented, the private hire would escalate. Also, at the moment, any new hackney coming on had to be wheelchair accessible, same should apply to private hire.
The Group noted the position in other local authorities would be investigated.
(c) TAXI RANKS AND TAXI CARD SCHEME
(i) Chris Elder reported that there had been consultation regarding the taxi card scheme/DRT with pensioners groups and other disability groups. Unite wanted to raise our concerns that if the taxi operators, many who have gone to great expense to put on wheelchair accessible taxis, found that they no longer had the money from the taxi card scheme (250,000) and also the money that the passenger pays on top of that 250,000 could be in the region of over a million pounds, the Taxi Trade could not survive that kind of loss. This would reduce the amount of work from offices and these office cars would be sitting on taxi ranks creating more overspill on the ranks. Also, the public would get a lesser service using the DRT system.
The Group noted that this would be reported to the Committee in June, 2013.
(ii) Chris Elder reported that more ranks space situated in the heart of the City Centre was required. Possible areas the Trade would like to discuss as future taxi ranks, rank at Barrhead Travel, rank at the Registrars, Commercial Street, Reform Street located in the pedestrian area at Samuels as spoken about by Chris Elder, extend the front of the Nethergate Rank. The Trade would also like Dundee City Council to defer all future taxi licence applications until the provision of sufficient ranks were put in place for the taxi fleet at present, this would not be a deviation from the Council's present policy but the Council providing sufficient rank space for the present fleet and any future grant of a licence.
The Group noted that a rank at the Registrars was possible but the traffic was facing the wrong way and that a rank at Reform Street was not possible. In addition, a review of the parking team was also being undertaken with the possibility of implementing taxi marshals and the review be undertaken in January, 2014.
The Group agreed to taxi driver marshals being financed.
(iii) Chris Elder reported any new taxi granted a licence or any licence already in service who change their vehicle and present it for testing should, in our opinion, have a separate luggage compartment for the safe carriage of goods and passengers.
The Group noted that Stuart Galloway would look into that.
(iv) Chris Elder reported new badge holders to be formally interviewed by the Council prior badge application.
The Group noted that Brian Woodcock would check the operations of this system in Fife Council.
(v) Chris Elder reported taxi and private hire to be operated separately on different telephone numbers - this would eradicate confusion over public perception of what a taxi and private hire vehicles are. If the public phoned for a taxi they should be sent a taxi and if they phone a private hire number they should be sent a private hire.
The Group noted that this item had been covered.
(vi) Tax Reference number, we believe that some drivers are putting any number down and if this is the case is the Council corroborating these numbers with the tax office.
The Group noted that drivers had to submit HMRC documentation.
(vii) Chris Elder reported taxi card regards the removal of the taxi card scheme to DRT.
The Group noted this item had been covered.
(viii) Chris Elder reported the Council 50 page document to restructure the trade is long overdue and the Trade should have access to such document and be consulted on the contents, after all it is the Trade who will be affected by this document.
The Group noted the report by Stuart Galloway that no document existed at this time.
Stuart GALLOWAY, Chair.