Taxi Liaison Group - 02/10/2015

At a MEETING of the TAXI LIAISON GROUP held at Dundee on 2nd October, 2015.






Stuart GALLOWAY, Principal General Services Officer, Corporate Services Department

Brian WOODCOCK, Senior Solicitor, Licensing, Corporate Services Department

Fraser CRICHTON, City Development Department

Debbie CURRAN, City Development Department

CRAIG SOMERS, Environmental Department




Erik THORESEN, Dundee Hackney Association

David YOUNG, Dundee Private Hire (203020) Ltd

George HARRIS, 450450

Graeme STEPHEN, Dundee Taxi Association

Willie LEES, GMB

Chris ELDER, Unite the Union




Cammy FORBES (Constable)

Sean SCANLON (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.




Items on agenda at request of Dundee City Council:-




Stuart Galloway reported on the above.


The Group agreed to note:-


(i) that the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act imposed duties on the Council and that the Council would employ two civic Licensing Standards Officers who would carry out tasks including taxi enforcement and that Craig Somers, Environmental Compliance Manager would be their manager;


(ii) that these officers would administer the taxi test currently operated by Police Scotland;


(iii) that applications would continue to be notified to Police Scotland for criminal record checks;


(iv) that the approach to be taken would be consistent with the current enforcement undertaken by the Council;


(v) that the intention of the Environmental Health Department would be to keep operators advised of any issues of concern which were observed by the civic Licensing Standards Officers as it was considered that this partnership approach with operators would be conducive towards maintaining the best possible service in the interest of the Taxi Trade in Dundee; and


(vi) that this method of working be supported by all members of the Trade present at the meeting.




Stuart Galloway reported on the above.


The Group agreed to note:-


(i) that the security company who operated at the G Casino would be approached by the Council with a view to providing a further two security personnel at that location between the hours of 11.00 pm and 4.00 am at the weekends to assist with the safe operation of taxis at that location and fulfil what was previously envisaged by the agreed role of Taxi Marshals; and


(ii) to note that from April, 2016, Night Time Noise Team and Licensing Standards Officers would be empowered to undertake enforcement duties previously undertaken by the Cabs Enforcement Unit of Police Scotland (Tayside Division).




Stuart Galloway reported on the above.


The Group noted that the company appointed to carry out the survey were commencing work over the following two weeks and that a report would be submitted to a future meeting of the Licensing Committee on the outcome.




Stuart Galloway reported on the above.


The Group noted:-


(i) that following the meeting of the Tayside Procurement Consortium that a basic specification for CCTV systems had been developed and that Karen Lawson would take it out to the market for interests from any potential providers and to allow for any demonstrations on any particular system to a meeting of the Taxi Liaison Group;


(ii) that Police Scotland were apparently carrying out a crime prevention project in the Fife area which included provision of CCTV cameras in vehicles operated by taxis at a cost of 49 per system and that the Tayside Division of Police Scotland would make enquiries with Fife Police on the outcome of this project should any lessons be of benefit to the provision of a similar system within Dundee; and


(iii) that currently, the only approved CCTV system which operators may install in their cars was provided by a company called SIGNAS and any other cameras which may be installed had not been approved by Police Scotland or Dundee City Council and as such were in breach of conditions of licence.




Stuart Galloway and Dave Young of 203020 reported on the above.


The Group noted:-


(i) that application had been submitted to the Scottish Qualification Authority for a new course operated by the taxi offices to be provided for taxi training; and


(ii) the concern in relation to the number of taxi drivers who to date have not been signing up to courses required for taxi drivers training.




Stuart Galloway reported on the above.


The Group noted that there were ongoing concerns in relation to the conduct of certain taxi drivers at the Nethergate rank who had been observed standing in the roadway forcing other motorists to swerve around them and that this was an ongoing issue at the rank and that members of the Liaison Group were encouraged to liaise with their members and taxi drivers towards ending this practice.




Items on agenda at request of Police Scotland (Tayside Division):-




Constable Cammy Forbes reported on the above.


The Group noted that:-


(i) through the course of their work that taxi drivers had a major role to play in crime prevention through the safe passage of passengers and an interaction with vulnerable people who come into their contact and the occurrence of domestic incidents which may take place within their vehicle and also information which they may become aware of which would assist in the prevention of crime and measures which may take place towards preventing taxi drivers from becoming victims of crime themselves;


(ii) that Police Scotland may be in a position to provide the Trade with information on potential recognised hotspots within Dundee which had been known for taxi fraud with a view to keeping taxi drivers safe and also potential areas where their vehicles may become subject to vandalism; and


(iii) that CCTV in taxis would be of great assistance in this respect.




Items on agenda at request of Dundee Taxi Association:-


(a) Would it be possible to give all taxi operators a company licence in existing licence name but with conditions. Such as if the first name (existing name) changed then at next test an electric vehicle would be required?


Graeme Stephen reported on the above.


The Group noted the wish of Mr Stephen that this particular item of business be deferred to a future meeting of the Group.


(b) any progress in reducing test fee for vehicles being subject to more than one test.


Graeme Stephen reported on the above.


The Group noted:-


(i) that it was perceived that test frequencies and the fee should remain as they were at present as a deterrent;


(ii) that currently any vehicle over eight years had to come in every four months for a test;


(iii) that a future report would be submitted on the frequency of meter testing to the Group;


(iv) that monitoring would be carried out of testing of Angus vehicles over a full calendar year before any evaluation was made;


(v) the recognition that was given to Dundee City Council from towns and cities within England on having a Taxi Liaison Group as a means of meeting the Trade and they saw this as a positive measure and had indicated that they would wish to implement something similar in their area and that they may wish to observe a meeting of the Taxi Liaison Group in Dundee at a future occasion.


(c) Is it possible for anyone with suspension then found not guilty by the court to be given licence back immediately even if only temporarily till a hearing is convened or by three person committee?


Graeme Stephen reported on the above.


The Group noted:-


(i) the wish for the recall of a taxi driver's licence to be operated on the same lines as the immediate suspension of a taxi drivers licence and that this be part of the terms of reference for the Licensing Sub-Committee;


(ii) the current processes for the Sub-Committee would be looked at and a further discussion would take place towards establishing whether or not this would be suitable for adoption as a remit for the Licensing Sub-Committee;


(iii) that it was the responsibility for any particular taxi operator to ensure that any particular driver of their vehicle was a licensed taxi driver;


(iv) that the Council would examine the possibility of providing some kind of notification which may be placed within the vehicle about who the particular driver on duty was in the interests of public confidence and security and that this would be undertaken by Fraser Crichton as his section would be taking over the responsibility of issuing badges to licence holders; and


(v) that this initiative could be also easily enforced by members of the trade as they would be able to observe any particular drivers whose badge was not on display and, as a result, prevent improper operation of vehicles as taxis in the interest of public confidence and safety.


(d) Assuming Dundee is successful in electric funding bids, would it be possible to install more rapid chargers than the slower ones in and around the City as 2/3/4 hour charging would be no use to the Taxi Trade?


Graeme Stephen reported on the above.


The Group noted:-


(i) that 44 rapid chargers had been bid for and it was envisaged that these would be placed in strategic areas and that full details of the bid would be provided to a future meeting of the Taxi Liaison Group.


(e) Is it possible to have something done about cars, vans, etc that park on Hilltown taxi rank while going in to shops particularly in the afternoon?


Graeme Stephen reported on the above.


The Group agreed to note:-


(i) that officers from Police Scotland, Tayside Division, had spoken to road policing and also staff at Gellatly Street and it was important to report such instances at the time;


(ii) that this particular incident indicated that Hilltown area would be reported to Neil Gellatly as he was responsible for parking attendants;


(iii) that more buses were coming around by the museum and traffic at the High School could potentially mean that someone might get hurt in that area; and


(iv) that there was a problem with the sequencing of traffic lights at that location;


(v) Stuart Galloway would advise Neil Gellatly of this.


(f) Is it possible to limit new Private Hire Licences to putting on electric vehicles only. This would help with emissions and help control the number mean time?


Graeme Stephen reported on the above.


The Group noted:-


(i) that the Council did not have a problem with the proposal and that any new private hire being put in operation be put on as an electric vehicle; and


(ii) that this particular matter be examined further by Fraser Crichton and that with the new Act being passed, it would probably mean new private hire provisions coming into force within the next twelve months and, as such, it may be better to revisit this matter once the position was known.


(g) It is about time to be looking at the annual fare increase although wages have started to rise, fuel has fallen so would not expect any large increase.


Stuart Galloway reported on the above.


The Group noted:-


(i) the content of the report on annual calculations tabled by Mr Galloway;


(ii) that an increase this year was not required; and


(iii) the formal process which would now be undertaken involving a report to the Committee and advertising of the position within Dundee.




Items on agenda at request of GMB:-




The participants of the SVQ training receive a booklet about the UK & Scottish Law that covers the Taxi Trade. A number of things seem to contradict what happens in Dundee. Can you explain why?


Willie Lees reported on the above.


The Group noted:-


(i) that the Council had previously agreed to adopt Group 2 standards for medicals which would not involve the enforcement of annual medicals at the age of 65;


(ii) that the issue of medicals may be further reviewed throughout Scotland following the outcome of the fatal accident enquiry following the bin lorry crash in Glasgow;


(iii) the current procedure for reporting to OHSAS and the onus on the taxi driver to notify the Council of medical conditions they had to ensure that these did not impair their driving and how these fitted against Group 2 standards and it was not for any particular driver to determine that their condition did not impair them from driving a taxi on the basis that it may not impair them driving their own personal car;


(iv) that the advice in relation to the safe transportation of children within taxis was that the children be removed from buggies; and


(v) the requirements for the picking up of passengers within the boundaries and outside the boundaries of the city for which they are licensed and the requirements in this regard that the journey either must commence or end within the Council area for which the particular driver is licensed.




White plates continue to sit near ranks, why? Also who is policing the white plate drivers and what is Dundee City Council doing about capping the number of white plates in Dundee?


Willie Lees reported on the above.


The Group noted:-


(i) that members of the Trade should advise Police Scotland if they witness the illegal picking up of any passengers by private hire in the street to allow for them to investigate the matter.




Severe lack of safe drop-off points in Dundee City Centre, particularly the High Street. What is being done to address this?


Willie Lees reported on the above.


The Group noted that this was not possible due to the potential misuse of bus-stop areas and locations by taxi drivers as had been experienced at the Nethergate.




GMB feel the proposal to introduce corporate plates must be stopped.


Willie Lees reported on the above.


The Group noted that there were no changes to be reported to the Group at this time on this particular matter.




Items on agenda at request of Unite the Union:-


(a) Street Test Abertay University computerised street test to make the test completely random.


Chris Elder reported on the above.


The Group noted that Stuart Galloway would look at this and if any change was required.


(b) Offices out of town, ie Tayport to Newport, working out with your licensed areas to inform the Trade and the licensed offices what you can and can't do with regards operating outwith your licensed area.


Chris Elder reported on the above.


The Group noted that this matter had been covered at Article V(b) of the minute of this meeting.


(c) Command of the English language to become part of the requirements for a taxi badge.


Chris Elder reported on the above.


The Group noted:-


(i) that in terms of equal opportunities legislation the Council did not have authority for licence holders to have a certain level of command of the English language; and


(ii) that with regard to anecdotal evidence of the request by drivers of passengers for postcodes of the particular location that they were travelling to that training may hopefully resolve this particular matter.


(d) The body of the hall was against Council proposals for a complete electric taxi fleet in the future, the argument against is due to the fact there is not a car that would meet the fleet's requirements especially for double-shifted taxis and limitations when going out of town.


Chris Elder reported on the above.


The Group noted that technology in relation to electric vehicles was continually advancing and that particular concerns noted at this time may be resolved in the future.




Items on agenda at request of Tay Taxis:-




Proposal that we initially fast track a badge that the driver can drive a taxi without a meter and if they pass a full test within 12 weeks there would be no extra charge.


George Harris reported on the above.


The Group noted that Stuart Galloway would examine this particular matter in conjunction with Brian Woodcock, Senior Solicitor, Licensing.




The Group noted that the next meeting of the Group may be held during January, 2016.





Stuart GALLOWAY, Chair.