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Contact: Pauline Ross
To receive apologies for absence and notification of substitutes
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors A. D. Kriss, P. M. McDonald and S. A. Robinson, with Councillor J. E. King in attendance as the substitute Member for Councillor S. A. Robinson.
Declarations of Interest
To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests.
There were no declarations of interest.
The minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 15th November 2021 were submitted.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 15th November 2021, be approved as a correct record.
The Committee considered a report which detailed the consultation responses received to the draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing policy, that went out for the 12 week consultation period, with the relevant stakeholders; as detailed in paragraph 3.8, page 6 of the main agenda report, during June to September 2021.
The Principal Licensing Officer, Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS), introduced the report and in doing reminded the Committee that a review of all of the Council’s hackney carriage and private hire policies had been undertaken in response to the publication by the Department for Transport guidance under section 177 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017, entitled “Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Standards.”
On 15th March 2021, Licensing Committee Members were presented with a copy of the draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy for consideration. Whilst a large number of the recommendations set out in the Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Standards were already being met within the Council’s existing policies, the draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy was drafted so as to incorporate any of the recommendations that were not already being followed.
As highlighted in the preamble above, an initial consultation was undertaken during June and September 2021. The consultation was then re-opened for a 7 week period during December 2021 to January 2022 to provide a further opportunity for stakeholders to respond. Consultation was also undertaken via an online survey. Paper versions of the consultation survey were also made available for those that wished to respond that way.
Information on the consultation, along with details on how to respond were sent out to stakeholders, as detailed in paragraph 3.17, page 7 of the main agenda report.
The consultation was also made available on the Council’s website and was promoted by the Council’s Communications Team, including via the Council’s social media channels.
The questions included in the consultation were detailed at Appendix 2 to the report.
A summary of the consultation responses received were detailed at Appendix 3 to the report.
Officers had reviewed the consultation responses and did not consider that there were any compelling local reasons why those elements of the draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy, that were based on the recommendations in the Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Standards, should not be implemented.
A number of other comments and observations had also been received, and these were summarised in a table on pages 9 to 11 of the main agenda report.
Members expressed their sincere thanks to the Principal Licensing Officer for his comprehensive report.
The Principal Licensing Officer responded to questions from the Committee and in doing so, explained that the draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy, was based on a template that had been created with a view to each of the six district Councils in Worcestershire adopting new policy statements that were substantially similar to one another, particularly in relation to the licensing of hackney carriage and private hire drivers and private hire operators.
Members ... view the full minutes text for item 16/21
Members received a report on the Hackney Carriage Table of Fares and a supplementary agenda pack detailing updated information on fuel prices.
The Principal Licensing Officer, Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS), presented the report and in doing so informed the Committee that, officers had recently received a request on behalf of a number of hackney carriage licence holders for the current table of fares to be varied to increase the maximum fares that could be charged.
Hackney Carriage (“Taxi”) fares were made up of an initial hiring charge and a
“mileage” rate, both of which were expressed in terms of distance and / or time
per unit cost. This was because when a hired taxi was stationary or moving
slowly in traffic the meter continued charging, but by time, instead of distance.
The table of fares applied only to hackney carriage vehicles. Private hire
operators were free to agree their hiring charges in advance with their
customers, normally at the time of booking the journey.
Appendix 1 to the report detailed the current table of fares. The current table
of fares was approved by the Licensing Committee at its meeting held on 24th
June 2013 and had taken effect on 1st August 2013.
The structure of the current table of fares was somewhat complex. The table
of fares was structured so as to set out one single tariff of charges and then
allowed the driver to charge extra depending on a number of factors including
the time and date when the journey commenced, how many passengers were
being carried, how the vehicle was booked and the visibility conditions.
Officers recently received correspondence, sent on behalf of a number of
hackney carriage licence holders, requesting that the Council gave
consideration to varying the table of fares. The initial request was for a £1
increase to the charge for the first mile and for subsequent miles to increase
from the current level of around £1.77 per mile to £2 per mile.
Officers acknowledged this request and had asked representatives of the
hackney carriage trade whether they would like to try and also use this
opportunity to simplify the table of fares for drivers and passengers, as well as
with a view to providing those in the hackney carriage trade with a fair and
reasonable increase to the amount they could charge for journeys.
The hackney carriage trade representatives were receptive to this idea and
following liaison with officers regarding a more simplified structure for the
table of fares, a proposal was put forward that the table of fares be varied to
that as detailed at Appendix 2 to the report.
When drawing comparisons between hackney carriage fares in different
areas, the normal method used was to compare the cost of a 2-mile journey
on Tariff 1. A table showing a comparison of the hackney carriage fares
charged for a 2-mile journey on Tariff 1 in other local districts was detailed at
Appendix 3 to the report.
If the table of fares ... view the full minutes text for item 17/21
Members discussed the Work Programme and in doing so it was agreed that: -
11th July 2022
o Objections received to the Hackney Carriage Table of Fares.
o Revisit the Councils current vehicle licensing policies with regard to standards and age criteria for electric vehicles.
o Look at incentives for drivers to purchase less polluting vehicles.
o Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV’s) report on the number of WAV’s licensed in the district, ways to incentivise drivers to purchase WAV’’s and an estimate of the capacity (number) of WAV’s the district needs.
19th September 2022
o Interim review of Hackney Carriage Table of Fares if circumstances merit it.
27th March 2023
o Annual review of Hackney Carriage Table of Fares
RESOLVED that the Licensing Committee Work Programme for 2021/2022 be updated to include the items discussed and agreed during the course of the meeting, as detailed in the preamble above.