Agenda and minutes

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Venue: Council House

Contact: Democratic Advisor  Email: democraticsupport@plymouth.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

65.

Declarations of Interest

Members will be asked to make any declarations of interest in respect of items on this agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made by councillors, in accordance with the code of conduct.

 

66.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 89 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 16 December 2021.

Minutes:

The Committee agreed that the minutes of the meeting held on16 December 2021 are confirmed as a correct record.

 

67.

Chair's Urgent Business

To receive reports on business which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be brought forward for urgent consideration.

Minutes:

There were no items of Chair’s urgent business.

68.

Review of Taxi Table of Fares (Taxi Tariff) pdf icon PDF 794 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee having -

 

(a)

considered the report from the Director of Public Health;

 

 

(b)

heard Graham Hooper’s (Senior Officer Intelligence and Licensing) presentation of the report which highlighted the following key areas -

 

 

 

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on 28 October 2021, the Taxi Licensing Committee recommended the proposed variation of the table of fares for the hiring of taxis within the City; in accordance with the Plymouth City Council Act 1975, the variations were advertised in the Plymouth Herald on 3 November 2021 which included providing an opportunity and details for objections to be made;

 

 

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all taxi drivers and vehicle proprietors were written to and provided with a copy of the proposed table of fares notice and given until 18 November 2021 to make objections; any objections received had to be duly considered, prior to the table of fares being implemented;

 

 

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fifteen response comments and objections had been received, one of these comprised of a petition of 34 named current licensed Hackney Carriage drivers;

 

 

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there were no comments or objections received about the reduction of the table of fares structure from five individual tariffs to three, or the increase in fuel surcharge and relocation of the reference service station from Exeter Street to Milehouse;

 

 

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general comments received were centred around the amount of time between tariff reviews; a request to ensure the date the tariff was implemented was added to the table of fares; the time had taken to review the tariff since the last review in 2017 and one comment that the increase in the soil charge up to £100 had the potential to be abused;

 

 

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responses to the comments were as follows -

 

 

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the length of time between Tariff reviews was considered by Committee on 28 October 2021 where it was agreed that Taxi Licensing officers explore a policy for regularly reviewing and setting future taxi fares in Plymouth;

 

 

 

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the increase in the soiling charge may be open to abuse was acknowledged however, this could potentially occur at the current rate and all complaints received of this nature were fully investigated by officers;

 

 

 

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the date the agreed tariff came in to effect would be included in the table of fares once agreed by the Committee;

 

 

 

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all of the objections received related to the proposed increase and that it was not considered substantial enough to cover increased costs and overheads since the last review; in addition to the objections there were requests that the Flag Fall or start-up fee was increased to £5 for tariffs one and two, or tariff one Flag Fall was set to £3 and the mileage rate was increased to £2 per mile and tariff 2 the flag fall was increased to £2.50 and £4.80 per mile; there had been no request that tariff three was increased or altered from that which was advertised;

 

 

 

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the responses to the objections were as follows -

 

 

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when considering the Flag Fall or start-up charge, the rule of thumb when setting fares was that it was ideally not more than double the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.

69.

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licence Fees pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Minutes:

 

The Committee having –

 

(a)

considered the report from the Director of Public Health;

 

 

(b)

heard Rachael Hind’s (Licensing Service Manager) presentation of the report which highlighted the following key areas –

 

 

 

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Plymouth City Council regulated the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire industry through the licensing framework set out in the Plymouth City Council Act 1975;

 

 

 

 

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fees for licences should be set at a figure which would recover the full cost of the licensing administration including enforcement, in so far as was consistent with the particular provisions which allowed licence fees to be charged;

 

 

(c)

the budgets for licensing were operated as two trading accounts, one for Private Hire and the other for Hackney Carriage; as review of the current fees had been undertaken to balance the two trading accounts and to ensure that there was no cross-subsidy;

 

 

(d)

additional savings had been made this year and all accounts for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire were on track to be in a balance position by the end of 2022/23 and in a surplus position by the end of 2023/24;

 

 

(e)

consideration had been given to whether the fees could be lowered; however it would be unwise to reduce any of the fees at this stage, as it was uncertain what the next year would bring due to the ongoing pandemic and the changes proposed as part of the Taxi Policy consultation;

 

 

(f)

Covid 19 had continued to have an impact on the number of licensed drivers and vehicles on both trades; this had been factored into this year’s budget monitoring; these figures are reviewed on a regular basis;

 

 

(g)

the current licenses spilt in 2021 (as at 6 December 2021) -

 

 

 

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Hackney Carriage vehicles 306 (33%);

 

 

 

 

 

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Private Hire vehicles 627 (67%);

 

 

 

 

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Hackney Carriage drivers 314 (32%);

 

 

 

 

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Private Hire drivers 673 (68%);

 

 

 

 

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there were currently 39 Private Hire operators.

 

The Committee –

 

(h)

heard representations from interested parties from the taxi trade and the PLTA which included the following main points -

 

 

 

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both representatives were pleased that there were no proposed increase in fees for 2022/23;

 

 

 

 

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raised concerns that there would be a risk of a significant increase in fees, in future years due to drivers over the age of 60 (currently 81) leaving the trade (if there were less drivers this would result in significant increases in the fees);

 

 

 

 

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requested that the Committee ask the Council’s scrutiny function to look at the impact of future fees on the trade through a task and finish group;

 

 

 

 

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raised concerns that any significant increase to the fee would impact the ability of the trade to attract new drivers (this issue had been recognised at a national level);

 

 

 

 

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requested that the budget was reviewed on a regular basis to ascertain if it could be reduced;

 

 

 

 

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highlighted that the number of drivers stated in the report was out of date and that 20 Hackney Carriage drivers were not working in the trade and had no intention of doing so in the future;

 

 

 

 

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January and February  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.

70.

Exempt Information

To consider passing a resolution under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972 to exclude the press and the public from the meeting for the following items of business, on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information, as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, as amended by the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Minutes:

Agreed that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972 to exclude the press and the public from the meeting for the following item of business, on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information, as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, as amended by the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

71.

Confidential Minutes

To confirm the confidential minutes of the meeting held on 16 December 2021.

Minutes:

The Committee agreed that the confidential minutes of the meeting held on 16 December 2021 are a correct record.