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Taxi Forum Minutes Wednesday 26th September 2020

11am - online

Present:
Sue Whybrow (SW)
Cllr Jenny Webb (JW)
Mark Harrison (MH)
Trevor Ford (TF)
Julian Postlethwaite (JP)
Cllr Peter Feacey (PF)
Alison Simmonds (AS)
Paul Coombes (PC)

Action  Who When
To notify reps when the results of the consultation are available TF End of consultation (End of Sept)

 

Minutes & Actions from last meeting

Contact other Kent Licensing teams to find out about contactless payment methods in other boroughs

AS advised there are no specific requirements set out in policy by other boroughs for having a card machine for passengers. AS advised there are companies out there some drivers use currently, however this is down to the discretion of the individual proprietor or operator to manage. AS confirmed there is no requirement to be ‘cashless’ currently.

To contact departments about safety of crossing and possibility of closing off one junction in feeder car park

TF advised Corporate Property have not raised any specific safety concerns. However, the markings and hatching does need to be refreshed. There is also consideration being given to changing the street lights to motion sensor but this is in its early stage.

Make a template for drivers and customers to fill in when they need to complain and to produce a vinyl sticker for the station rank shelter advising customers about refusals

TF advised this was designed and emailed out to the trade.

Arrange a mystery shopping exercise in coming months – for short fares

This was due to take place in April but due to Covid19/lockdown it has been postponed.

Statutory guidance 2020

TF discussed the new statutory guidance from the Department for Transport

Recommendation 1 - SW asked why consultees such as access groups have the power to comment on taxi matters. TF advised comments from the wider community, including organisations where their members use taxis should be consulted with. All consultees feedback on the guidance will be considered, it doesn’t necessarily mean the feedback or suggestions will form policy.

Recommendation 3 -SW asked if introducing a complaint process to the fare cards if sufficient. TF advised consideration has been given to notices but considerations to cost, being visible and accessible were also factors. If any of the trade have any further suggestions, please add this to the consultation being sent out.

Recommendation 2 -SW raised concerns that 48 hours is not sufficient a timescale for licence holders to notify the council, especially if they don’t have email, or can't phone (eg, at the weekend). TF advised consideration will be given to these circumstances on a case by case basis.

SW raised concerns that unlicensed drivers are operating in the borough. Particularly restaurants which are providing an unlicensed service for their customers. TF asked for any complaints to be provided to licensing with as much evidence as possible so this may be investigated. 

Recommendation 14 - SW raised concerns that there may not be sufficient time to conduct checks on another operator in the case of sub-letting if there was a last minute emergency. TF and AS advised that as/when the guidance forms part of licensing policy the onus is on each operator to ensure they are compliant and to consider these changes and potential incidents in advance. Due diligence must be demonstrated by the operator to carry out such checks. TF reiterated there must be ‘compelling evidence’ provided in order for this and the other guidance to not become policy within the borough. It is simply not enough to disagree with the changes, you must provide compelling evidence to support your rationale.

TF advised the report will be consulted on for the trade and other bodies/agencies to consider.

PC asked if the results of the consultation can be made available and the reps notified. TF will notify reps at the end of the consultation.

JW stressed the importance of the consultation and the need for the trade to present ‘compelling evidence’ if they wish to go against the guidance in the report.

AOB

Feeder Screen

TF thanked the trade for their patience whilst the screen on the feeder rank has been out of order. A new screen has been sourced and we await delivery. This screen, we hope to be in place in the 2 nd week of September with a replacement held at the council for any future issues.

The Community Safety Unit has issued licensed premises in the town with emergency trauma packs. These are high grade first aid packs for serious, life threatening injuries such as stab wounds.

Unfortunately there is no updated list of defibrillators in the borough but I am advised that should you need to call 999 in an emergency, the operator will advise you of the nearest location.

TF advised there is still funding available for ultra low emissions vehicles. Please see https://www.ashford.gov.uk/licensing/taxis/taxi-licensing-policy/ for further information.

Next forum date - TBC

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