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Agenda item

Public Participation

At this point in the meeting members of the public who have registered their wish to speak regarding an item on the agenda or an issue within the Committee’s remit can do so.  The deadline for registering is 5.00pm on Friday 8 February 2019.


Filming or Recording Meetings

Please note that, subject to available resources, this meeting will be filmed and webcast, or recorded, including any registered public speakers who have given their permission. This broadcast can be viewed at http://www.york.gov.uk/webcasts.


Residents are welcome to photograph, film or record Councillors and Officers at all meetings open to the press and public. This includes the use of social media reporting e.g. tweeting.  Anyone wishing to film, record or take photos at any public meeting should contact the Democracy Officer (whose contact details are at the foot of this agenda) in advance of the meeting.


The Council’s protocol on Webcasting, Filming & Recording of Meetings ensures that these practices are carried out in a manner both respectful to the conduct of the meeting and all those present.  It can be viewed at http://www.york.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/11406/protocol_for_webcasting_filming_and_recording_of_council_meetings_20160809.pdf


It was reported that there had been ten registrations to speak under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme, although one resident had been unable to attend.


Gwen Swinburn spoke on the issue of DBS checks for drivers, the cancellation of the previous meeting of the Committee by Officers and the delay in giving the Committee the legal advice the had sought on the operation of UBER in the City. Finally she noted that there should be a work plan for the Committee, as this was best practice.


Colin Metcalfe, Secretary of the York Hackney Carriage Association, told the Committee that he felt this was becoming an Officer led Council and stressed the importance of not ignoring the legal opinion the drivers had provided as UBER were operating illegally. He stated York should be the City to lead on tackling their operation.


Alan Rowley, a Member of the York Hackney Carriage Association, spoke on the differences between an operator and a driver in Taxi Licensing and how this worked in terms of allocating jobs. He stated that an operator needs to have a manned office within the controlled area, which UBER did not. Finally he stated that without meeting the triple licensing rule, drivers could not legally operate in the City and that UBER were doing so without challenge.


Steve Nelson, Vice Chair of the York Private Hire Association, stated that the legal opinion of CYC was wrong and went on to explain the restriction on where the vehicle was when receiving the booking. He also stated that it was his opinion that the Council were using the wrong interpretation of ‘operate’ and that a driver could only accept booking within their own licensed area.


Mark Jennings, the GMB President of Professional Drivers and Secretary of Southend Licensed Taxi Drivers Association spoke on Local Authorities having full control over the operation of Private Hire Vehicles in their area and how he felt this was not happening in York, as CYC did not want a legal battle with UBER. He stressed that it was essential to regulate what he saw as illegal operation as it was a potential safeguarding threat and left the Council open to prosecution.


Drew Thompson, Member of the York Private Hire Association, also spoke on UBER and the way they were undermining the Committee’s decision to remove their licence by continuing to send out of town drivers. He stated that this was an ongoing issue for York, taking money out of the local economy and needed to be dealt with swiftly by Members.


Tony Green, Vice Chair of the York Hackney Carriage Association, spoke on the importance of ensuring public safety via enforcement action. He stated there was a lack of enforcement officers and that UBER were continuing to illegally ply for hire, which made any insurance drivers had null and void. Finally he stated that 83% of complaints about UBER were from local drivers and that failure to control this behaviour had let to a hostile atmosphere.


Wendy Loveday, Chair of the York Private Hire Association, spoke on the different ways in which York and Leeds were tackling UBER’s operation. She stated that Leeds Council firmly stated that working in their City without an operator’s licence was illegal and that they would prosecute, without exception, any non Leeds driver working without a pre booked job. Finally she stated that it was CYC’s responsibility to enforce the law and prosecute drivers found to be doing the same thing in York.


Mike Palmer, Secretary of the York Private Hire Association, also spoke on the lack of enforcement action in relation to UBER’s continued operation in the City. He stated that drivers had offered Officers free travel to assist them with enforcement. He said a change of policy was needed as drivers were continuing to come into York in poor quality vehicles, with no local knowledge, leading to a rising number of complaints. He stated that it was the responsibility of Members to hold this company accountable.


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