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Taxi Forum Minutes Monday 5th February 2018

10:00am Committee room 1

Present:
Gokhan Kaygun(GK)  Imranul Islam(II)
Tyrone Archer(TA)  S. Palraj(SP)
Paul Auty(PA)  Muktar Ali(MA)
Jenny Lucking(JLu)  Rohit Rai(RR)
Karen Boyce(KB)  Paul Coombes(PC)
Sue Whybrow(SW)  Atanas Andreev(AA)
John Lovejoy(JLo)  Josh Dawkins(JD)
Roger Matcham(RM)  
Dave Childs(DC)  
Anthony Lewington(AL)  
Kamrul Hosen(KH)   
Tahsil Hashemi(TH)  

 

Cllr Peter Feacey(PF)  Alison Simmonds(AS)
Cllr Brad Bradfor(BB)  Julian Postlethwaite(JP
Cllr Jenny Webb(JW)  James Hann(JH)

 

Action Items
Action  Who  When
Junction access mirror  JH  By next forum
Customer signage on shelter and in Forecourt  JH  By next forum
Potential increase of rank from 2 to 3  JH/PF  By next forum
Provide town rank update now and future  CM/KL  By next forum

Minutes & Actions from last meeting

  1. Email to independent rep on Transport Liaison Group(TLG)
    Emails sent by AS to DC.
  2. Update on rank changes in lower High street.
    AS awaiting update from parking and Highways, information to follow.
  3. Advise parking wardens(Civil Enforcement Officers) re the public stopping on the Bank street rank.
    CEO’s area aware of the issue, as are Stagecoach marshals’ of issues with buses parking /stopping on the rank.
  4. Taxi waiting area.
    JH accepted that the new interchange was not perhaps what everyone wanted, and the purpose of moving the feeder rank was to accommodate the new Zebra crossing, and there had been a variety of proposals, consultations and options.

    He explained that ABC does not own any of the land around the station, including car parks A and B, and the Stour centre was the last option available to accommodate the highest number of vehicles, within the given spaces and hatched areas. The CCTV system was of excellent quality, with a good maintenance agreement and response for servicing.

    Drainage work had been completed to avoid flooding in that area.

    SW said that the position of the CCTV monitor would ultimately cause neck and back problems for drivers. She said that the left hand kerb as you exit the waiting area was set at the wrong angle, and cars were hitting it regularly, this was confirmed by PC and others at the forum, PC said that it was worse for larger cars. She also said that the two car bay at the station forecourt was tight to get into with the area being so busy.

    JH said that we could look at the kerb and consider redesigning it if it was causing a problem, but there needed to be a ‘bedding in’ period to allow people to get used to it. SW said that an angled mirror on the left hand side might help to improve visibility when leaving the waiting area. JH asked how the two lanes in the waiting area were working, PC said that it was difficult for company cars that may need to get out to a booked journey, and said that two spaces at the front of the station were not enough and three would be better with some alteration to the kerbs.

    JLo said that there needed to be more signage at the shelter for the public, with regards to the new waiting area. He said that Taxis were less visible now that the waiting area had moved, and if both cars on the rank have gone, the public may choose to get a bus. JH said that the station required major redevelopment, as it was no longer fit for purpose, and buses were moving many more people. ABC wants a multi million pound change to the layout of the station, including a new car park., and they would work to influence a change in the provisions for a larger taxi rank.

    PF suggested that the trade come up with viable proposals and suggestions with regards to the forecourt, rank and use of the station.

    JLo said that buses were causing congestion at Station approach, up to Cameo nightclub, and the taxis were getting caught up in it and had to waste time waiting for them to move off.

    PF said that should there be a new franchise operator, ABC would engage with them to encourage changes at the station, SW said that previous hackney reps were told that South Eastern did not want taxis at the front of the station.

    SW asked what would happen if drivers ‘overspilled’ into the car park if it was quiet and there were bays available. JH said that this would not be advisable, as they may get a ticket, but payment for parking was only up until 18.00.

  5. Fares and Fees
    PF confirmed that there would be no rise in fares for the period 2018-19.The following insert was read out at the Forum:

    Proposed Fee Levels for 2018/19

    Just to remind you, The process of setting the fees is necessary to ensure that fees are set at a level that Will enable the authority to recover the costs associated with the service provision.

    We also look at Hackney Carriage Fare Scale.

    In December 1996 it was agreed by the Council that the hackney carriage fare scale would be reviewed Annually. In setting this fare scale a balance needs to be struck between the legitimate aims of the hackney carriage trade to maintain profitability in the face of increasing costs, while protecting the public from Excessive fares.

    Over the last two years we have ask the trade through the taxi forum to give us information relating to costs associated with their business to help the licensing committee understand inflationary pressures on the Industry.

    This has been patchy at best and does not amount a clear and compelling business case to allow the committee to make a judgement and indeed the feedback from the online survey was answered by only 8% of drivers.

    After hearing from one of the taxi representative and hearing views from the public. We then went on to review the evidence supplied by officers to help us make a determination.

    We also look at our position as a council in the National Table which is based on a two Mile fare on Tariff one. The average for the UK is £5.82 with Ashford’s being at £6.40 we are within 17% of the most expensive place to catch a taxi in the UK with 83% of other authority being the same or below us.

    The Committee then had a robust debate after weighing all the evidence and decided that they would recommend no increase in the scale charge for 18/19.

    The licensing committee is bi partisan and is open to all members and the public who are welcome to speak. We are charged by this council to come up with a recommendation which is subject to public consultation and ratification by the full council.

    SW said that she did not agree with the decision, and the impact that it would have on her personally, and she asked how ABC could make that decision. PF reiterated previous comments where he said that the trade needed to provide evidence to support a rise. AS said that there had been a very poor response to a rise, and a lack of evidence to support that.
  6. Town ranks.

    AS said that there would be an update to follow, Parking were to unable to attend. Action Chris Miller and Transport liaison group to be consulted.

    The George PH rank. There was now a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) on this site, and it would be enforced. Drum lane, there would be a TRO in place next week.

  7. Reps now and in the future.

    AS said that there was a vacancy for the independent rep as DC had stepped down. PC expressed an interest.

  8. Driver badges.

    AS pointed out that drivers must wear their badges, it is a legal requirement, and failure to do so could lead to points being issued to the driver. PC asked if badges could only show the first name, not the surname. AS said that there was a vote two years ago on the matter, and it was not considered to be an issue.

  9. Medicals.

    JP said that there had been an issue with a driver attending a medical examination at the mobile doctor at Truck stop, and the person signing the medical off, was not the person who carried out the examination. Please be vigilant when applying for a medical and if in doubt please check the General Medical Councils’ website www.gmcuk.org/doctors/register

  10. Finberry. 

    PA spoke on behalf of his father. He asked what was ABC’s view on the Finberry junction and the bus only access. PF said that ABC supported the opportunity for hackney drivers to be able to have access. KCC have been approached to amend the TRO.

AOB

PC asked if there were any plans for a hackney rank at the new Elwick road development, as this had been initially discussed in the walkabout last year. Parking/Highways to be asked for feedback for next forum.

Next forum TBA