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Licensing Committee Meeting(Virtual) - Tuesday 18 January at 10.00am - Includes Taxi Fares Review held over from 7 December 2021 meeting
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TOPIC: Licensing Committee Meeting(Virtual) - Tuesday 18 January at 10.00am - Includes Taxi Fares Review held over from 7 December 2021 meeting

Licensing Committee Meeting(Virtual) - Tuesday 18 January at 10.00am - Includes Taxi Fares Review held over from 7 December 2021 meeting 4 months, 2 weeks ago #1

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Corporate and Community Services Department
Council Headquarters, Eastwood Park, Rouken Glen Road,
Giffnock, East Renfrewshire G46 6UG
Phone: 0141 577 3000 Fax: 0141 577 3834
Website: www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk
Date: 14 January 2022
When calling please ask for: Jennifer Graham or John Burke, 0141 577 3016
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

TO: Councillors A. Convery (Chair); B. Cunningham (Vice Chair); C. Gilbert; A. Ireland; and S. Miller.

LICENSING COMMITTEE
A meeting of the Licensing Committee will be held on Tuesday 18 January at 10.00am.

A pre-meeting for Elected Members will take place at 9.30am.

The agenda of business is listed below.

Caroline Innes
C INNES
DEPUTY CHIEF EXECUTIVE
(DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE AND COMMUNITY SERVICES)

This is a virtual meeting.
1. Report apologies for absence.
2. Declarations of Interest.

3. Taxi Fares Review – Report by Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) (copy
attached, pages 3 - 10).

Resolution to Exclude Press and Public
It is recommended that the Committee passes the following resolution:-
"That under Section 50A(4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, as amended, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for Item 4 of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 6 and 14 of Part I of Schedule 7A of the Act as appropriate".
Paragraph 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (other than the authority) – all Items.
Paragraph 14 – Any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime – all items.

4. Private Hire Car Driver’s Licence – Application for Renewal – Report by Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) (copy attached, pages 11 - 14).


For information on how to access the public part of the virtual meeting please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

A recording of the public part of the meeting will also be available following the meeting on the Council’s YouTube Channel

www.youtube.com/user/eastrenfrewshire/videos

This document can be explained to you in other languages and can be provided in alternative formats such as large print and Braille. For further information, please contact Customer First on 0141 577 3001 or e-mail
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


You can read information from Council Website here -

www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/licensing-committee-180122

Re: Licensing Committee Meeting(Virtual) - Tuesday 18 January at 10.00am - Includes Taxi Fares Review held over from 7 December 2021 meeting 4 months, 2 weeks ago #2

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Taxi Fares Review – Report by Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement)

Differences between report presented to 7 December 2021 meeting and to 18 January 2022 meeting.

7 December 2021
EAST RENFREWSHIRE COUNCIL
LICENSING COMMITTEE
7 December 2021
Report by Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement)
CIVIC GOVERNMENT (SCOTLAND) ACT 1982 – TAXI FARES REVIEW

18 January 2022
EAST RENFREWSHIRE COUNCIL
LICENSING COMMITTEE
18 January 2022
Report by Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement)
CIVIC GOVERNMENT (SCOTLAND) ACT 1982 – TAXI FARES REVIEW


7 December 2021
Purpose of report
1. For the Committee to review taxi fares.

18 January 2022
Purpose of report
1. For the Committee to review taxi fares and consider a change of policy
on the maximum age of private hire and taxi vehicles.


7 December 2021
recommendations

18 January 2022
Recommendations
(vii) Amend the present policy on maximum age of vehicles being
licensed for the first time as new or substitute taxis or private
hire vehicles from five to six years old from first registration
date for a temporary two year period from the date of this
Meeting


7 December 2021
BACKGROUND
3. The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (“the Act”) provides that the
licensing authority must fix scales for the fares and other charges made in the connection with the hire of a taxi or with the arrangements for its hire.

18 January 2022
BACKGROUND
3. The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (“the Act”) provides that the
licensing authority must fix scales for the fares and other charges made in the connection with the hire of a taxi or with the arrangements for its hire. The committee members will recall that this item was continued at its last meeting on 7th December 2021.

7 December 2021
9. The suggested fares received from existing licence holders are attached
in Appendix 1.

18 January 2022
9. Suggested fares, taking into account the comments received from existing licence holders, are attached in Appendix 1.

7 December 2021
10. The last review of in taxi fares in East Renfrewshire was in 2015. Taking
into account the comments of licence holders and the existing below average
fares, the Committee is asked to consider an increase across the various East
Renfrewshire tariffs. Appendix 2 is a copy of the existing tariff and the proposed new tariff.


18 January 2022
10. The last review of in taxi fares in East Renfrewshire was in 2015. In
consideration of the comments of licence holders and the existing below
average fares, the Committee is asked to consider an increase across the
various East Renfrewshire tariffs.


7 December 2021


18 January 2022
13. The committee is also asked to consider a temporary 2 year amendment
to the present policy on maximum age of vehicles being licensed for the
first time as new or substitute taxis or private hire vehicles. This is
presently five years from first registration date. However, we are told
second hand prices of vehicles have risen sharply in the last year or so,
possibly as a result of the covid pandemic, and operators are under
financial pressure at present. The proposal is six years instead of five. It
is anticipated that costs will return to normal levels in the future so the
policy can return to present levels after a two year period. Newer vehicles
tend to be equipped with more safety features and have better emissions
so there are reasons to return to a five year maximum.


7 December 2021
CONSULTATION
15. The licensing section has consulted directly with every holder of a taxi
vehicle licence and has consulted the public through the council website.

18 January 2022
CONSULTATION
15. The licensing section has consulted directly with every holder of a taxi
vehicle licence and has consulted the trade/public through the council website.
Please note that the main public consultation will take place in the next stage of the process when newspaper advertising will be done.

7 December 2021
Recommendations
(vi) To authorise the Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) to
make amendments in respect of any other changes.

18 January 2022
Recommendations
(vi) To authorise the Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) to
make amendments in respect of any other changes.

(iv) Amend the present policy on maximum age of vehicles being licensed for the first time as new or substitute taxis or private hire vehicles from five to six years old from first registration date for a temporary two year period from the date of this meeting.

Re: Licensing Committee Meeting(Virtual) - Tuesday 18 January at 10.00am - Includes Taxi Fares Review held over from 7 December 2021 meeting 4 months, 2 weeks ago #3

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These 18 January 2022 increased charges are same as for 7 December 2021 meeting -

Appendix 1
EAST RENFREWSHIRE COUNCIL
CIVIC GOVERNMENT (SCOTLAND) ACT 1982
TAXI TARIFF
EFFECTIVE FROM 2022
JOURNEYS MADE WITHIN EAST RENFREWSHIRE


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Re: Licensing Committee Meeting(Virtual) - Tuesday 18 January at 10.00am - Includes Taxi Fares Review held over from 7 December 2021 meeting 4 months, 1 week ago #4

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The Chair Cllr Convery and Committee Members Cllr Miller and Cllr Ireland were asked -

In the interests of openness and transparency, due diligence and public scrutiny and to give confidence in these Committee procedures,to ask the following questions and seek information regarding the the report to be considered at the meeting.

------ Original Message ------
Sent: Monday, 17 Jan, 2022 At 10:04
Subject: Licensing Committee Meeting 18 January 2022

Licensing Committee Meeting 18 January 2022


......

I refer to Agenda Item 3 - Report by Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) CIVIC GOVERNMENT (SCOTLAND) ACT 1982 – TAXI FARES REVIEW


In the interests of openness and transparency, due diligence and public scrutiny and to give confidence in these Committee procedures, would appreciate if you can ask the following questions and seek information regarding the above report to be considered at the meeting.


(These questions are not concerned with personal details such as names & addresses etc)


- '7. Legal Services wrote to every holder of a taxi licence within East Renfrewshire and has therefore complied with paragraph A above. Several replies were received, the majority requesting an increase in fare. Since the last review, there is evidence from operators that their costs have substantially increased. '


Total Number of taxi licence holders in East Renfrewshire?

How many is 'several'? How many replies were in fact received?

How many is the 'majority'? How many actually requested an increase in the fare?

What is the evidence from operators that their costs have substantially increased?

Where can this evidence referred to in the report be found?



- '10. The last review of in taxi fares in East Renfrewshire was in 2015. In consideration of the comments of licence holders and the existing below average fares, the Committee is asked to consider an increase across the various East Renfrewshire tariffs. '




The number of comments?

What are the comments of licence holders?

Where can these be found?

Why are they not included with the Report?




- '13. The committee is also asked to consider a temporary 2 year amendment to the present policy on maximum age of vehicles being licensed for the first time as new or substitute taxis or private hire vehicles. This is presently five years from first registration date. However, we are told second hand prices of vehicles have risen sharply in the last year or so,
possibly as a result of the covid pandemic, and operators are under financial pressure at present. The proposal is six years instead of five. It is anticipated that costs will return to normal levels in the future so the policy can return to present levels after a two year period. Newer vehicles tend to be equipped with more safety features and have better emissions so there are reasons to return to a five year maximum.'



Who told the author this - 'we are told second hand prices of vehicles have risen sharply in the last year or so,' and where can the evidence for this be found?

What is the evidence that - 'operators are under financial pressure at present.' and where can this evidence by found?





- 'EQUALITIES IMPACT

14. A fare increase may persuade more licence holders to upgrade to wheelchair accessible vehicles. '



Where is the evidence for this? Where can this evidence be found?



The committee previously agreed 13 April 2021 regarding regarding WAVs(Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles)


'MINUTE of LICENSING COMMITTEE
Minute of virtual meeting held at 10.00am on 13 April 2021.
Following discussion, the committee agreed:-
(a) to amend the current Council policy in respect of WAVs to remove the requirement for all new private hire operators’ licences to be wheelchair accessible, with a review of this amendment to be held in 1 year; and......'





- 'CONSULTATION

15. The licensing section has consulted directly with every holder of a taxi vehicle licence and has consulted the trade/public through the council website.

Please note that the main public consultation will take place in the next stage of the process when newspaper advertising will be done.'



How many responses were received from trade/public through the council website?

Where can they be found?



What newspaper(s) circulating in this area will be used?



Your help will be appreciated.


Thanks


You can see what actually transpired and what questions were asked,


Do you have confidence in the scrutiny of this report?

The recording of the meeting can be viewed here -

www.youtube.com/user/eastrenfrewshire/videos


You can read meeting details on Council Website here -

www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/licensing-committee-180122

Re: Licensing Committee Meeting(Virtual) - Tuesday 18 January at 10.00am - Includes Taxi Fares Review held over from 7 December 2021 meeting 4 months, 1 week ago #5

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Thanks to Cllr Convery for this information -

Total Number of taxi licence holders in East Renfrewshire? 

- We currently have a total of 45 Public Hire Operator Licences


How many is 'several'? How many replies were in fact received?

- I believe that replies were received from approximately 15 vehicle operators, including a letter signed by 12 of them
 ​

How many is the 'majority'? How many actually requested an increase in the fare?

- I believe that all those vehicle operators who responded requested an increase in the Council Tariff
 

What is the evidence from operators that their costs have substantially increased? 

- Operators did not require to provide evidence that the cost of operating a licensed vehicle has increased.

- It has been widely reported in national press that fuel prices have increased substantially, and insurance costs has also risen, despite new legislation compelling insurance providers to offer existing customers the same rates that are applicable to new customers.


Where can this evidence referred to in the report be found? 

- Information regarding this is not included in the report to Committee


The number of comments?

- The Council's Licensing Enforcement Officer has discussed issues regarding increasing costs associated with the operation of a licensed vehicle with a large number of vehicle operators on a regular basis, and in particular since 24 March 2020, when the number of licensed vehicles operating within East Renfrewshire fell to approximately 80, from a previous total of 625.

- It is not possible to give an exact figure regarding any comments made.


What are the comments of licence holders? 

- The majority of the discussions concerned the additional costs associated with the operation of a licensed vehicle, the fact that the Council Tariff was last changed in November 2015, and more recently the lack of hires being undertaken.

- Some separate comments were included in information submitted by vehicle operators.


Where can these be found?

- Some comments will be included in communications received from vehicle operators.


Why are they not included with the Report?

- There is no requirement to include them in the report to Committee as the Enforcement Officer attended the meeting and was able to answer any questions raied by the elected members
 
 
 
'13. The committee is also asked to consider a temporary 2 year amendment to the present policy on maximum age of vehicles being licensed for the first time as new or substitute taxis or private hire vehicles. This is presently five years from first registration date. However, we are told second hand prices of vehicles have risen sharply in the last year or so,
possibly as a result of the covid pandemic, and operators are under financial pressure at present. The proposal is six years instead of five. It is anticipated that costs will return to normal levels in the future so the policy can return to present levels after a two year period. Newer vehicles tend to be equipped with more safety features and have better emissions so there are reasons to return to a five year maximum.'
 
 
Who told the author this - 'we are told second hand prices of vehicles have risen sharply in the last year or so,' and where can the evidence for this be found? 


- Information was freely available from national press, which has regularly reported on the lack of available pre-owned vehicles, and the major delays in vehicle manufacturers supplying new vehicles to customers, with the cause often being cited as a worldwide lack of electrical and computer components.

- A number of vehicle operators have also advised the Enforcement Officer that enquiries regarding obtaining a suitable pre-owned vehicle have resulted in the prices being quoted for the vehicles being up to 40% more than that paid for an identical vehicle 2 years earlier.



What is the evidence that - 'operators are under financial pressure at present.' and where can this evidence by found?

- It is no secret that as a result of restrictions put in place by both National and Scottish Governments, people have remained at home and as a result the number of hires undertaken by licensed vehicles in all Council areas throughout Scotland has fallen dramatically.

- as a result, during 2020, the largest Booking Office operating within East Renfrewshire experienced a massive reduction in the number of vehicles working, going from 240 to 12 within the space of a few weeks. 
 
 
'EQUALITIES IMPACT
14. A fare increase may persuade more licence holders to upgrade to wheelchair accessible vehicles. '
 
The committee previously agreed 13 April 2021 regarding regarding WAVs(Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles)

'MINUTE of LICENSING COMMITTEE
Minute of virtual meeting held at 10.00am on 13 April 2021.
Following discussion, the committee agreed:-
(a) to amend the current Council policy in respect of WAVs to remove the requirement for all new private hire operators’ licences to be wheelchair accessible, with a review of this amendment to be held in 1 year; and......'
 
Where is the evidence for this? Where can this evidence be found?

- East Renfrewshire Council currently licences 32 vehicles which are WAV's, and checks with the Booking Offices licensed by the Council has established that on average, each of these vehicles is assigned to no more than 2 WAV hires per week.

 
'CONSULTATION
15. The licensing section has consulted directly with every holder of a taxi vehicle licence and has consulted the trade/public through the council website.
Please note that the main public consultation will take place in the next stage of the process when newspaper advertising will be done.'

How many responses were received from trade/public through the council website? - Not answered

Where can they be found? - not answered

What newspaper(s) circulating in this area will be used? - not answered

Re: Licensing Committee Meeting(Virtual) - Tuesday 18 January at 10.00am - Includes Taxi Fares Review held over from 7 December 2021 meeting 4 months ago #6

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From previous FOI request -

From:
To:
Subject: New tariff fares proposal, for Licensing Committee - November 2021
Date: 27 November 2021 17:55:41

Dear Chairperson and Commitee

I am writing in respect of a proposal for an increase in the current Taxi fare tariff currently being operated in East Renfrewshire Council area.

I include my suggested to this email which is laid out in the same format as the current tariff in operation, so that you may compare.

I refer to my email dated 24th October 2021, where I have listed several straight forward reason why an increase is vital, I would suggest this now as a matter of urgency.

I reiterate that Diesel fuel is at a 12 year high, unlikely to come down. All my operating expenses have increased year on year, continuously and this without any tariff review in over 6 years.

At present the major Private Hire companies all charge a £1.00 booking fee on top of there flag fall and mileage charges which means journeys taken in Private Hire cars in ERC area are far more expensive than licensed Taxis?!

All other adjacent councils have continued to review there Taxi Tariffs regularly and we have fallen behind, with no review for more than half a decade.

These last 20 months with the Pandemic have hit our business extremely difficult and the Government assistance was very well received.

However, we incurred considerable extra costs to operate during this time in order to maintain our business.

In car taxi Screens, masks, gels, sanitising sprays and paper towels.

And these costs look likely to continue.

The last review took place in 2015 and was implemented in November of the same year.

I have undertaken a review of all my costs in relation to my on going costs,
and as I have indicated, every single item on my profit and loss accounts as increased except my drawings.

From windscreen wipers, to regular servicing every 10,000 miles, to ERC licensing annual costs, to Fuel, Taxi weigh in charges, insurance, car payments.

Even our domestic costs have increased dramatically making it difficult to operate a business at all.

I trust you will consider my proposal attached and should you require any further detail or information I would be very happy to assist.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely


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