This report seeks Council approval of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2021 – 2026.
This report requested Council approval of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy 2021-2026.
The report included the consultation responses received in respect of the draft revised Policy as well as an evaluation of each response.
The report set out that an in-depth, critical review of the existing Policy had been carried out by the Licensing Manager and Regulatory Services Manager to highlight areas of policy in need of revision or removal.
This report had been considered by the Licensing and Safety Committee on 8 April 2021 and its comments and recommendations to Council were set out at section 5 of the report.
The report advised that some changes had been made to the draft Policy to incorporate the changes requested by the Committee. The revised Policy was set out at Appendix A to the report.
The Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, Councillor Chitty, supported by the Portfolio Holder for Resources, Councillor Gulvin, proposed the recommendations set out in the report.
a) Noted the comments of the Licensing and Safety Committee set out in section 5 of the report.
b) Approved the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy 2021-2026, as set out at Appendix A to the report.
c) Agreed to delegate authority to the Chief Legal Officer to in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, make further necessary minor administrative amendments to the relevant sections of the Policy, as set out in paragraph 3.4 of the report.
Councillors Adeoye, Bowler, Curry, Howcroft-Scott, Johnson, Khan, Maple, Murray, Price and Andy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the decision be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.
To present Members with the consultation responses received in respect of the draft revised Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy. The report includes an evaluation of each response and gives a recommendation as to whether or not to amend the draft revised policy statement and, if so, in what way and to what extent. Member input is sought in finalising the policy statement for publication and implementation.
The Committee considered a report on the consultation responses that had been received in respect of the draft revised Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy. The Licensing Manager outlined the proposed revisions to the policy and members of the Committee raised a number of comments and questions as follows:
Consultation period – Concern was expressed that the four-week consultation had been too short to ensure that the views of all interested parties had been captured. The Licensing Manager advised that the policy needed to be renewed by 30 April 2021 when the existing policy ended. All drivers had been individually consulted as well as other stakeholders, and the response rate to the consultation had been significant, indicating that the consultation was sufficient. In addition, the Chairman reminded Members that the Committee had been consulted on, and approved, the proposed consultation period and methodology prior to commencement.
First aid kit and fire extinguisher – Clarification was sought on whether there was a legal requirement for vehicles to carry these items or whether the recommendation to require them was a policy issue. The Regulatory Services Manager suggested that Members may wish to consider recommending that this proposed revision be excluded from the draft policy as this would not prevent any requirement being imposed by law.
Revised vehicle age criteria – It was questioned whether an upper age limit for vehicles was necessary as some vehicles could remain in good condition beyond the age limit. It was suggested that a vehicle’s emissions would be a more appropriate guide to their suitability for licensing. The Regulatory Services Manager responded that the proposed age requirement was designed to maintain standards including safety standards.
Wheelchair accessible vehicles – A number of Members questioned the proposed requirement for all new hackney carriage drivers to have a purpose built or converted wheelchair accessible vehicle. It was considered that more research and consultation with disability groups was required to establish demand for this type of vehicle. Concern was also expressed that the cost might deter people from applying to become a hackney carriage driver. It was recognised that currently, passengers who required a wheelchair accessible taxi might have difficulty in finding one for hire. The view was also expressed that the new requirement might lead to too many wheelchair accessible vehicles which might not always be the preferred choice of passengers. There was a suggestion that a maximum overall number might be appropriate. Alternatively, operators with a specific number of vehicles might be required to ensure that a percentage of them were wheelchair accessible. The Licensing Manager responded that this had been considered but had been discounted as operators did not employ drivers, who could move between different circuits to work.
Officers highlighted the small number of wheelchair accessible vehicles currently in operation within Medway, this being around six out of around 600 vehicles. Members were advised that approximately 10 new hackney carriage drivers were licensed each year which meant that around 50 new vehicles of ... view the full minutes text for item 869