Taxi and Private Hire Trade Forum - 18 December 2023
Trade Consultation with Southampton City Council Licensing
10am to 1200 Monday 18th December 2023
Conference Room 3, Civic Centre, Southampton
Chair is Cllr Matthew Bunday
The purpose of this forum is defined as:
- A two-way exchange of information, dialogue and discussion
- To hear views, comments and concerns of the trade
- To receive information, comments, and concerns of the Licensing Team, Members and the Council as a whole.
- Not a decision making forum
- Where matters of a particular concern and where appropriate, matters raised can be referred to the Licensing Committee where a formal decision can be made.
It should be borne in mind that consultation does not necessarily mean agreement with and that consultation meetings cannot be decision making meetings.
Cllr Bunday has also invited the following people to attend:
Ian LOYNES – Spectrum
- Introductions/Apologies (Chair)
- Cllr Kenny, Cllr Whitbread, Cllr Blatchford
- Present – Cllr Bunday (Chair) Cllr Noon, Phil Bates, Russell Hawkins, LJ, AJS, ANS, AH, IH, GP, IH, PM.
- Statement from the Chair (Chair)
- The chair addressed all present with his thoughts on driving standards recently. Whilst standards are generally good, the side is being let down by a small majority and councillors are getting increasing enquiries and complaints from residents. Could reps communicate this with the drivers.
- Notes from Previous Meeting (Chair)
- Summary since last meeting (Licensing)
Phil Bates informed the group of the following:
- District Judge sitting as Magistrate dismissed an appeal by a driver who was revoked in November 2022 after repeatedly asking lone female passengers for their contact details and other complaints. Costs of £3,700 awarded to council.
- Magistrates dismissed an appeal by driver revoked in February 2023 after police notified licensing of two complaints by two women of inappropriate touching. £1,800 costs awarded to council.
- Driver revoked after amassing 12 points for speeding and received a 6 months DVLA ban.
- Private hire driver revoked by Committee for working while a suspension was in place.
- Driver suspended for 1 month after no insurance conviction.
- Applicant refused after caught cheating in knowledge test
- Driver revoked after abusing a parking warden, following her, lying and with previous complaints as well.
Also worth noting serious allegation of sexual harassment received which resulted in no action as proved to be malicious.
Pre covid we would get just under 1,000 enquiries/complaints to complete. So far this year we are on 1,219. 1,026 were taxi enquiries/complaints.
- Current consultation. Cameras, Drugs, Cards in HC’s
- Group informed of consultation. Now live.
- Additional HCD badges for PHD’s
- Licensing informed the group that it has been agreed that PH drivers that have held their badge for 4 or more years can now apply for a HC badge with no additional knowledge test. However, due to workload priorities, the trade had not been informed as Licensing are dealing with high workloads. We will now get the communication out to the reps so this can be cascaded.
- 6 month badges for outstanding DBS or wrong DBS type
- Licensing informed reps that they are trialling issuing a 6 month licence in respect of drivers with DBS delays and DBS update service issues.
- Hackney Roof signs – Future. New design? More modern, eco and more secure? Suggestions and ideas to RH for future discussion. (Licensing)
- Licensing invited feedback from the trade regarding the current hackney roof signs and alternatives. Briefly discussed but Licensing requested feedback, directly to Russell Hawkins by email please.
- Operator Licence Fees – Is it possible to charge different fees depending on size of business? Suggestions welcome. (Licensing)
- Licensing invited feedback from the trade regarding the future fee structure for operator licensing. Briefly discussed but Licensing requested feedback, directly to Russell Hawkins by email please.
- Southampton taxi ranks have an official tow away zone signage, making it clear to anyone who wants to park on the rank, who is not licensed should given consideration for licensees who pay money to your department. (SHPHA)
- Known ongoing issue. As a direct result of this forum, Parking Enforcement do carry out night enforcement. This helps but still not resolved entirely. PB will make enquiries including the use of camera enforcement as SCC can now prosecute for some moving traffic offences.
- Licensing over the last number of years, it has been considerably noticeable that the department is not concerned about sole traders, all they are interested in is large companies ie. Radio
- Taxis, Uber, etc,. Push the sole traders to one side. (SHPHA)
Councillors were not in agreement with this statement.
- Taxis, Uber, etc,. Push the sole traders to one side. (SHPHA)
- Condition 19, 2019 Private Hire Vehicle Licence Policy and Conditions, on the subject of Parking on the Public Highway has been removed. So that Southampton large private hire companies can park anywhere they so wish. Under the new 2023 conditions, we want the old condition returned (SHPHA)
19.1 The licence holder shall not permit the vehicles to be stationed on the Highway unless they are at that moment actually in use for the purpose of carrying passengers for which a "hire" has been agreed.
This condition was removed as it was not environmentally sound, was poorly worded and therefore was ignored by everyone. It basically required all PHV’s to either be parked on private land when not booked or to be continuously driving around. Existing parking laws are adequate and parking enforcement do take action against illegally parked vehicles. Officers challenge drivers when seen parked near areas of high foot fall and find vast majority have bookings. Operations testing if PHDs will take a job off the street have not found anyone failing for a number of years now.
- Review vehicle age limit as per DfT best guidance (GMB)
- Licensing will review this guidance and in particular ages in good time and make changes if appropriate that encourage the take up of cleaner vehicles and WAVs. The council are aware of the increasing cost of WAV’s. It should be noted that it is guidance only and not statutory.
- Improve communication to ALL licensed holders (GMB)
- Licensing should use social media and WhatsApp to better communicate with drivers. PB pointed out that the team had no spare resource to maintain a social media presence and no appetite to do so. It was suggested a filmed message might work better than a typed message.
- Any festive safety campaign from licensing to protect drivers and public? (GMB)
- Usually the remit of the Police or the community safety team. None were planned this year but PB will speak with them to remind them of this opportunity for future years.
AE – Abdiwali ELMI - STA
IH – Ian HALL - SHPHA
AH – Ali HAYDOR - GMB Union Rep
LJ – Luke JUAN - Uber
PM – Perry MCMILLAN - UNITE Union Rep
MP – Mayuri PANDYA - Bolt
GP – Gino PICCANINO - Elected Hackney Rep
JR – Jamilur RAHMAN - Elected Private Hire Trade Rep
AJS – Ajmal SUDAN - SHO
ANS – Anwar SUMRA - Elected Hackney Rep
SHO – Southampton Hackney Organisation
SHPHA – Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association
STA – Southampton Taxi Association