Taxi Liaison Group - 25/11/2014

At a MEETING of the TAXI LIAISON GROUP held at Dundee on 25th November, 2014.






Stuart GALLOWAY, Principal General Services Officer, Support Services Department

Brian WOODCOCK, Senior Solicitor, Licensing, Support Services Department

Neil GELLATLY, City Development Department

Mark DEVINE, City Development Department

Gerry CONWAY, City Development Department

Fraser CRICHTON, City Development Department




Erik THORESEN, Dundee Hackney Association

David YOUNG, Dundee Private Hire (203020) Ltd

Graeme STEPHEN, Dundee Taxi Association

Wayne O'HARE, Dundee Taxi Ltd

Willie LEES, GMB

John CURRAN, Tele Taxis

Chris ELDER, Unite the Union




Cammy FORBES (Constable)

John CALDWELL (Constable)




Councillor David BOWES

Councillor Tom FERGUSON


Stuart GALLOWAY, in the Chair.


Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Doug Inglis, Handy Taxis.




The minutes of meetings of the Taxi Liaison Group held on 20th January, 2014, 17th February, 2014 and 26th May, 2014, were submitted and noted for information and record purposes.


With regard to those persons who were listed in attendance, Graeme Stephen asked about representation from Tele Taxis, Handy Taxis and 203020 and whether or not they were in fact part of the one group and not separate entities. In reply, Stuart Galloway advised that there was an outstanding remit from the Licensing Committee to examine the membership of the Taxi Liaison Group.




Items on agenda at request of Dundee City Council:-




There were submitted copy calculations. The increase was 0.69%. This would mean the initial charge going up by 2p to 3.04.


The charge for additional yardage would increase from 15.82p to 15.93p per 1/10 mile. It was currently at 16p so there would be no increase for 2015/2016.

The Group agreed to forego the 2p increase on the initial charge for the next year and that there would be no increase in the taxi fares this year and that a note would be submitted to the January meeting of the Committee to this effect and, in the meantime, the decision not to increase the fare increase would be advertised.




Stuart Galloway spoke to the above item.


The Group noted that Stuart Galloway had spoken to Dundee College who had reported that there had been minimal take up of their taxi driver training course and requested that those representatives on the Taxi Liaison Group get back to their members to remind them of the need to take up training and that this should be completed by May, 2017 and that steps should be taken with their members to engage them in training as required by the conditions of their licence. The Group also noted that the GMB had put 100 taxi drivers through the training and they had 400 members still to commence. The Dundee College course cost 400 and contact details for Dundee College were distributed. The Group noted the ILA issues as explained and that these were only available for a short time and that the ILA grant was in the sum of 200. The GMB course also included training for saloon drivers and not just WAV drivers. The Group noted that all courses were externally verified.




Stuart Galloway spoke to the above item.


The Group noted that consideration of this issue had been remitted back from the Licensing Committee for the further consideration of the Liaison Group.


The Group noted that the Licensing Committee were concerned with the provision of tinted windows within vehicles operated as taxis, even if those vehicles had a CCTV system approved by the Council and Police Scotland installed within that vehicle.


The Group noted that some vehicles had been provided by manufacturers with tinted windows and not normal specified glass windows.


The Group noted that the issues in the application of tinted windows should be the same as that for advertising on windows and the application should be made to the Committee for variation and not be considered normal specification for operation of a licensed vehicle as a taxi.




Stuart Galloway spoke to the above item, together with input from Gerry Conway of the City Development Department.


The Group noted that a programme of works would commence at 10pm on Christmas Eve and that diversionary routes which would be operated to allow for these works to take place and be completed by 0600hrs on the Saturday following. The Group noted that the rank was very close to the bridge structure and that new concrete barriers and fencing would be put in place which would absorb up to a 40 mile an hour impact once the bridge structure works were being undertaken due to uncertainty on what these would realise. Footpath works would also be undertaken. Tenders were being prepared for the build of the new station early in 2015 and there was a need for rebuilding of the bridge and wall area over the next 2-2? years. Works may mean losing between 20 and 25 metres of the taxi rank over the period of the works. Plans were circulated amongst the Group. The content of works were explained including the construction and landscaping and every attempt to minimise disruption to the locality would be implemented. The proposal was to relocate the rank from the east to the west side of the layby which would involve lane closure down to bus layby and the lane adjacent to bus layby for taxi rank with the first car sitting 25 metres further back from normal. The timescale for rank adjustments was not certain as yet and whether that would be at the start, middle or end of the works.

The rank would now be relocated to the drop-off point. An explanation was given as to where the rank was now and where it would be located when works were completed which would allow for the first car to take a job rather than at the other end as was the current practice. A new car park with 30-35 spaces would assist with drop-offs. The Group noted the position. It was further noted that there may be a requirement to reduce the Riverside Drive area to a single lane over the period of the works.


Separate to this, it was highlighted that it was perceived the bus stop in the Marketgait area was causing motoring problems and that the installation of shades, or wooden paddles as they were more commonly known, within the road at the bus and taxi lane may be of benefit to eliminate glare from oncoming vehicles. The Group noted that Neil Gellatly would ask the Engineers to do an audit of this area and, in particular, the concerns over the glare from oncoming vehicles.


The Group noted the works which would be undertaken and the opportunity to make these known to their members and that once the contractor programme was known this would be reported back to the Liaison Group.




Neil Gellatly reported on the above item and that work was progressing towards recruiting two members of staff for this purpose. Healthy working standards were explained towards moving this proposal forward and it was anticipated that in the next two to three weeks advertisement would be made with a view to appointing in the new year. There would be a three year trial period which would be assessed over 12 and 24 month periods. The Group were reminded of the powers of the proposed taxi marshals and that assistance would be provided by Police Scotland as and when required. It was anticipated that hours of operation would be between 10pm and 3am. Further observation was made by Graeme Stephen of Dundee Taxi Association that hours may be of more benefit if they were implemented from 11pm to 4am to accommodate the busiest periods witnessed at the G Casino area, for the benefit of taxi drivers and patrons accordingly.




Neil Gellatly reported on the above matter.


The Group noted that a considerable amount of interest had been generated in the taxi business in relation to electric vehicles. It was reported that the ACOST. Strategic Board viewed electric vehicles as key to helping to alleviate pollution problems seen in cities and that effort was already being made within the Dundee area which had been recognised, not only within the UK but Europe, towards introducing this type of public transport. The trade representatives were encouraged to consider taking the introduction of electric vehicles further. The infrastructure for recharging was outlined, including that this would be citywide and potential locations and current locations across the city to assist a publicly available rapidly charged function as similar and available as putting petrol in your car were outlined. Many car manufacturers were introducing electric vehicles, including some which were of the WAV variant. Fraser Crichton outlined the current operation of electric vehicles within Dundee City Council and that these may be in operation from early morning until 10pm each day with 20 minutes of charge only required. These had shown considerable reduction costs in maintenance of up to 60% and had been able to cover a distance of up to 3,000 miles costing only 46 for electricity. So far the Council had operated vehicles over 200,000 miles. It was explained that there were opportunities out there to get very good deals with manufacturers as many cities did not have infrastructure whereas this was reported as being readily available within the Dundee area. Fraser was open to have discussions with interested parties from the taxi trade should they so wish. There were already case studies evident within Dundee with independent traders such as Peter Fraser and also 203020 currently embracing this technology. The opportunity to present a business case based on an operator outwith Dundee for the information of the Group would be examined. It was highlighted that by summer 2015 there would be 30 electric buses available within Dundee towards furthering the infrastructure of electric vehicles and reducing pollution emissions as a result. There were currently three types of charging and all elements of this infrastructure were publicly available at each recharging point for electric vehicles and indeed each of these points must have all the available types of charging for these vehicles in place. St Andrew's University and Edinburgh University would be at the 203020 launch and Dundee City Council would link in with the Universities after a six month period of operation to obtain an overview of the study.

The Group noted the position to gain an overview of the study. The members of the Group were in a good position as a purchasing consortium to approach vehicle manufacturers to improve their opportunity for receiving good deals.




Stuart Galloway spoke to the above item.


The Group noted that Stuart had spoken with Iris Coghill and that all licence holders had been written out at the point of renewal. To date there had been minimal take up. Eco Stars were keen to get involved.




Brian Woodcock spoke to the above item.


The Group noted the overview of the position and that the current limit was set at 611 and that the Licensing Department wished to see how this figure settled after the renewal period for licences had ended. Proposals were invited from the trade on allocation of licences for the next Taxi Liaison Group. The creation of corporate licences was suggested. The Group noted that the Council were looking for ideas as to how to manage the 60/40 split previously decided by the Licensing Committee.




Items on agenda at request of Dundee Taxi Association:-


(a) Is there any intention for testing of Angus taxis until their new testing station is ready and, as we have problems at times fitting tests, would it be possible to stop four monthly tests?


Graeme Stephen spoke to the above item.


The Group noted that a meeting had been held six months ago with Angus Council. The follow-up meeting would be held that Friday. Potential numbers and requirements were explained. There were currently 2,992 slots available in Dundee. The problem in relation to people phoning up one or two days before they were required to have a test was highlighted. Currently, it was considered that age related vehicle testing was working. The past test ratio was explained and that it was currently sitting at 41% failures, 21% of which were for minor defects. The Group noted that it was for each individual licence holder to ensure that their vehicle met the appropriate standards to allow it to achieve a pass and also to allow for the smooth operation of the test centre to ensure that the best use of the facility was made to allow for effective programming of testing of vehicles, and also in the best interests of the licence holders to ensure that their vehicle was not out of service unnecessarily.


(b) The DTA spoke about back seat covers in test; has this been implemented?


Graeme Stephen spoke to the above item.


The Group noted the procedure which was in place for seat covers in the test.


(c) Is there any intention to change size, width, etc of taxis?


Graeme Stephen spoke to the above item.


The Group noted that there was currently no intention to change size, width, etc of taxis.


(d) Can we clear up situation on passing on remainder of taxi test if selling tested taxi to another operator?


Graeme Stephen spoke to the above item.

The Group noted that the Licensing Department were aware of at least two vehicles and that the meter had to be the same. Test certificates are already transferable upon change of ownership of the vehicle.




Items on agenda at request of GMB:-


(a) Inequality in the trade - what is being done about this issue? Allowing saloon operators to place less expensive domestic saloon cars in service with no specific criteria or approved list while WAV operators have to place in service more expensive commercially adapted wheelchair taxis.


Willie Lees spoke to the above item.


The Group noted that the there was no approved list for saloon vehicles since this was completely impractical and that vehicles were subject to testing against the specifications of the test centre on each and every occasion. There was currently a list highlighting those vehicles which had been approved by the Licensing Committee for operation as WAV vehicles. This was part of the final stage of the policy review and was known and accepted by applicants for licences upon application.


(b) Discrimination against certain groups - people in wheelchairs/people with buggies etc? People with buggies etc having to wait longer if there are no WAV taxis at taxi ranks and on Sundays having problems getting WAV taxis early for work etc.


The Group noted that Stuart Galloway had previously progressed this matter with the Department of Transport a number of years previously following the submission of the same letter from Chris Elder and that no reply appeared to have been received from them on this particular issue.


The Group noted that guidance had been issued previously from the Cabs Enforcement Office on this particular topic outlining the responsibilities of the driver in this regard. In particular, it was noted that some buggies were crash tested and suitable for carriage and others were not and could not be presumed safe for the carriage of a child in a vehicle.


(c) Stopping variations of taxi licences and instead issuing exemption certificates under Section 166 of the Equality Act. We feel that the Council have opened the floodgates on this issue and can see no reason why Exemption Certificates under Sector 166 of the Act cannot be issued and cannot see why anyone applying for a variation who can drive a saloon car cannot drive any of the WAV taxis on the Council approved list as there are WAVs that are saloon type.


Willie Lees spoke to the above item.


The Group noted that each application was considered on its own merit and the applicants had to produce evidence from specialists for consideration of the Committee providing the basis of their argument that they required the variation to allow the operation of a saloon vehicle. There were a number of factors to consider, however, depending on the injury and also the position of the seat. The exemption process in Glasgow was explained and that anyone who required such a vehicle was then transferred to private hire.


The Group noted the position as outlined and the observation by Graeme Stephen that consideration may be given on occasion when someone had to request a variation of the vehicle due to a certain disability that they be required to put in place a certain type of saloon car/vehicle or even an electric vehicle.


(d) PVG disclosure checks. More information why this has to be paid.


Willie Lees spoke to the above item.

The position in relation to the requirement of paying 75.00 for a PVG check to allow for a school contract was explained. It was explained that Enhanced Disclosures were in place for a number of years up to 2011. In 2011, PVG checks came into place. Regulations indicated that the generic work of taxis was not regulated whereas school contract work was deemed to be regulated and required a PVG. Information was not part of Police Scotland checks. In relation to foreign drivers, it was highlighted that they required to produce status information from their country of origin. Disclosure checks may only be available over the period of time within the United Kingdom.


The Group noted the position and that the Transportation Department were currently reviewing their commissioning of home to school transport in consultation with legal in adherence to legislation requirements.


The Group also noted that the PVG check was a one-off check and did not require further review.


(e) Taxis parking on bus stops across from Nethergate Rank. Why is this still going on and what is being done to deal with this problem?


Willie Lees spoke about the above item.


Anecdotal evidence about use of area across from the Nethergate Rank was provided. The warning process in relation to parking indiscriminately across from the Nethergate Rank was explained and members of the Group were asked to remind their members of this.




Items on agenda at request of Unite the Union:-


(a) Taxi Ranks - An update on the taxi rank at the top of Castle Street beside church. I know the church objected to it and Stuart Galloway was going to get back in touch with them. It would be used mostly day-shift.


Chris Elder spoke about the above item.


Neil Gellatly advised that John ONeil Network Manager, City Development Department was currently looking at the issues in relation to taxi ranks.


(b) Training for new drivers - It was on the website that they would have to do SVQ before they got their badge. It has now been removed. I think they should at least have to prove they have registered for one of the courses on application for a badge.


The Group noted that this matter had been covered.


(c) Taxi Street Test - Has the CCTV camera been installed in room for test and will someone be present when street tests are in progress?


Chris Elder spoke to the above matter.


The Group noted that CCTV had now been installed in the room used for testing at the CABS Enforcement Unit and was monitored by Police Scotland.





Stuart GALLOWAY, Chair.