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Agenda item

Taxi Licensing Public Consultation - vehicle licences

At Licensing and Regulatory Committee on 16 July 2018, when Members last discussed the ‘Unmet Demand Survey’ and the City of York Council (the Council) policy regarding restrictions on the number of hackney carriage vehicle licences issued, it was resolved that Officers would ‘review the existing policy on the issue of hackney carriage vehicle licences and report back to Members after a public consultation with the trade and taxi users’. This report follows the public consultation that was undertaken. 

Minutes:

Members considered a report that reported back on a public consultation with the trade and taxi users following the resolution to ‘‘review the existing policy on the issue of hackney carriage vehicle licences and report back to Members after a public consultation with the trade and taxi users’’ at Licensing and Regulatory Committee on 16 July 2018. Annex 1 of the report detailed the breakdown of euro standards in existing fleet, Annex 2 detailed the Taxi Incentive Scheme, Annex 3 detailed vehicle types and Annex 4 outlined the results following public consultation.

 

The Head of Public Protection updated Members on the consultation responses and outlined the two options available which were as follows (Option 1 was the recommended option):

 

Option 1

i)          To continue with the current restriction on numbers of hackney vehicle licences and ask Officers to commission a formal ‘unmet demand’ survey during 2021 to establish whether there continues to be significant demand for taxis which is unmet;

 

ii)        Recommend to the Council’s Executive that they amend the Taxi Licensing Policy and conditions with regards to the type of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles that will be licensed by the Council in the future as detailed in paragraph 25 a), b), c) and d).

 

iii)       To include a more detailed review of the use of taxi ranks as part of the unmet demand survey.

 

Option 2

Take an alternative course of action such recommending to the Executive that the current restriction on hackney carriage vehicles be lifted and to keep the existing licensing conditions with regards to the type of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles that are licensed in future.

 

The Public Protection Manager and the Head of Programmes and Smart Place were in attendance to answer questions. In answer to questions raised, along with the Head of Public Protection they clarified:

·        That there was an electric vehicle public charging strategy by example, the super rapid chargers in Dundee had been very successful with the licensed trade.

·        The location of the fast and rapid electric charging points in the city

·        That the technology for electric charging was moving very rapidly and the government for the banning of diesel and hybrid cars may come forward

·        With regard to the proposed new emissions and age policy (detailed at paragraph 25 of the report), the new hackney carriage vehicles licences would only be issued to fully electric wheelchair accessible vehicles and plug in electric petrol hybrid wheelchair accessible vehicles. From January 2021, new private hire licences would only be issued to fully electric vehicle, plug in electric petrol hybrid vehicles, petrol hybrid vehicles (Euro 6 class or better (less than 7 years old) and wheelchair accessible vehicles – Euro 6 diesel/petrol or better (less than 7 years old).

·        There was a need to consult with taxi drivers in terms of what they required in respect of charging failities, for example what was required in terms of inductive charging

·        In relation to out of town drivers, the Home Office had stated that people could leave locked down areas for work.

·        In relation to longer journeys, the private charging networks along major roads was robust and was increasing exponentially. Nationally, the network was increasing in quality. Regionally, the council was working with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and County Councils on locations for electric vehicle charging.

·        It was lawful for drive out of town taxis into York and journeys could be subcontracted to a firm from another authority. It was noted that other authorities did have age restrictions on their vehicles.

·        Larger low emission vehicles were expensive at circa £50,000 and the charges for these would be passed onto customers.

·        With regard to the consultation response, the median response regarding the age of vehicles was 8 years and 7 years was the highest standard and ensured that the vehicles being brought in were Euro 6.

·        The trade concerns regarding COVID-19 had been included in the policy which was the reason for the three year lead in time.

·        York was a leader in air quality and regarding its own fleet was looking to replace it with lighter vehicles.

 

[The meeting adjourned from 19:01 until 19:09]

 

·        The Committee could make recommendations to the Executive about looking into the feasibility of providing incentives to the trade. It was noted that there were incentives available from the government for example £5000 towards and electric vehicle and £3000 off a hybrid vehicle.

·        Concerning the consultation responses there had been 70 responses from taxi drivers that was 30% of the trade and didn’t say how many were in favour of the proposals. The consultation process was outlined to Members.

·        In terms of public charging facilities, the authority was confident that charging would be robust and that it would be able to support the fleet post COVID-19.

·        Unmet demand surveys could be commissioned as required and a survey had not been undertaken at present as this would not be reflective of the situation.

 

During debate a number of Members expressed concern regarding the timescales for the policy as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Cllr Galvin moved an amendment to Option 1 Section 2. This was seconded Cllr Melly. Following a unanimous vote it was:

 

Resolved:

 

That Members take into consideration the results of the consultation and other matters highlighted in the report and approve amended Option 1 of this report, namely:

 

i)             To continue with the current restriction on numbers of hackney vehicle licences and ask Officers to commission a formal ‘unmet demand’ survey during 2021 to establish whether there continues to be significant demand for taxis which is unmet;

 

ii)            Recommend to the Council’s Executive that they amend the Taxi Licensing Policy and conditions with regards to the type of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles that will be licensed by the Council in the future as detailed in paragraph 25 a), b), c) and d) with a note to Executive to take the current economic situation and impact on the taxi trade into account when implementing the changes.

 

iii)          To include a more detailed review of the use of taxi ranks as part of the unmet demand survey.

 

Reason: 

 

i)     To enable the Council to carry out an independent survey on restricting hackney carriage vehicle licences, while taking into consideration the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

ii)    Ensure a more environmentally friendly and modern hackney carriage and private hire fleet in the city in response to the declared climate emergency and continuing desire to improve air quality.

iii)  To better inform any decision around the number and location of ranks.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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