Agenda item - Hackney Carriage Unmet Demand Survey

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Agenda item

Hackney Carriage Unmet Demand Survey

Executive Director Neighbourhoods, Communities and Housing (copy attached)

Decision:

 

RESOLVED – (1) That the Committee agrees to increase the number of Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licences issued by the Council to 5 annually, such licences to be issued in May each year commencing in May 2019; and

 

(2) Resolves that any additional licence issued under (1) above should be issued in accordance with the conditions attached to the Brighton & Hove City Council, Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence Waiting List and to vehicles which are constructed or adapted and configured to carry passengers seated in wheelchairs, or vehicles which are fully electric, or plug in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles the type and design of the vehicle to be agreed by the Executive Director of Neighbourhoods, Communities and Housing.

Minutes:

            Presentation – Ian Millership, LVSA – Unmet Demand Survey

 

15.1    Before proceeding to consider the officer report, the Committee received a presentation from Ian Millership of LVSA who had been engaged by the Council to carry out its unmet demand survey. It was explained that the aim of the survey had been to identify any significant unmet demand, or otherwise, to provide the committee with evidence of the current position regarding unmet demand and its significance at the present time, to review the policy of managed WAV growth and to consider other matters including the level of environmentally sustainable vehicles in the fleet.

 

15.2    It was explained that the survey had been undertaken between February and October and that the test of main rank demand had been carried out in Spring 2018, full rank observations had taken place in May 2018 and on street interviews had taken place during March and April 2018. Key stakeholders had been actively involved in the process, some in face to face consultation, an all driver survey had also been carried out and meetings had taken place with trade reps. There were 575 hackney carriage vehicles and 455 private hire vehicles licensed in the city, although it was difficult to know the number of out of town vehicles operating in the city; the trade structure was complex and this allowed a high degree of flexibility in relation to the operating models used. It had been identified that there was a maximum of 660 drivers who did not have their own vehicle with 352 vehicles whose owners were unable to drive them; there was no restriction on any of the 1,020 vehicles which prevented them from being rented to appropriate drivers.

 

15.3    There remained a wide geographic spread of ranks and and early review had found that demand had reduced by 1-13% and that overall demand at ranks was 27% less than it had been in 2015. There appeared to be very low levels of unmet demand with the index of significance of unmet demand was at its lowest from all recent surveys and overall the index was now negligible compared to the 80 vehicle cut-off and the only increase was in latent demand. In terms of disability, whilst there were some detailed issues which needed to be addressed, it was generally accepted that a mixed fleet represented the best option for dealing with a range of disabilities, the level of observed usage by those in wheel chairs remained the same as in 2015, there was a higher percentage of WAV vehicles at ranks than in actual fleet figures and the percentage of WAV’s seemed right for the area.

 

15.4    The key conclusions of the survey were that the rank based market had reduced, hailing was strong, the hackney carriage app had, had a positive impact on hackney carriage vehicle usage, there was confidence that unmet demand was very unlikely to become significant, on balance there was a benefit to leaving managed growth in place but no further increase in WAV vehicles was necessary, there was scope for further work in terms of hackney carriage vehicles in order to replace inappropriately met demand; also there was a need to prepare for becoming more environmentally friendly.

 

15.5    In answer to questions regarding possible reasons for the fall in demand, Mr Millership explained that this could be attributed to a number of factors, although he considered that this could in part be as a result of customers being more selective and cost conscious when choosing their mode of cross town transport opting to walk or use a bus when there was sufficient time to do so rather than calling a taxi or visiting a rank as their default.

 

            Consideration of the Officer Report

 

15.6    The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Neighbourhoods, Communities and Housing which presented the results of the Hackney Carriage Unmet Demand Survey and set out various options for consideration going forward. It was noted that the Executive Summary and recommendations put forward by the Council’s consultants, LVSA, were set out in Appendix A to the report.

 

15.7    Councillor Deane referred to the reduction in use of ranks seeking confirmation regarding whether that was attributable in part to the overall fall in demand and it was confirmed that it was. The number of trips made had reduced and major concerns had also been voiced by representatives of the trade in relation to out of town vehicles taking their trade.

 

15.8    Councillor Wares referred to the frequency, accessibility and general reliability of public transport links across the city which made use of other modes of transport viable in the absence of time constraints, considering that could also be a contributory factor.

 

15.9    Councillor C Theobald referred to the fact that she had pre-booked a taxi on a Saturday evening recently, which notwithstanding that it had been pre-booked had failed to arrive, that was unacceptable. It was explained that could happen at times when there was a surge in demand and there was a shortage of vehicles as a result.

 

15.10  Councillor Hyde referred to the trends in usage which were apparent from the survey results and to the fact that consultation had taken place with those representing the trade and that 53% supported continued managed growth.

 

15.11  Councillor Bennett referred to the type and specification of wheelchair accessible vehicles noting that they were not appropriate for use by all disabled passengers. She was aware of a constituent living in her ward who was reliant on taxis and who because of the nature of their disabilities had an electric wheelchair. On a number of occasions she had been unable to take the vehicle which had arrived. Further thought needed to be given to the type of such vehicles provided in the longer term. The Chair Councillor, O’Quinn concurred there was a need for some larger vehicles which could accommodate heavier electric wheelchairs they were expensive to purchase and run and the number of such vehicles required would be considered by the next survey. Greater use of electric powered vehicles was also being explored with trade representatives.

 

15.12  RESOLVED – (1) That the Committee agrees to increase the number of Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licences issued by the Council to 5 annually, such licences to be issued in May each year commencing in May 2019; and

 

(2) Resolves that any additional licence issued under (1) above should be issued in accordance with the conditions attached to the Brighton & Hove City Council, Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence Waiting List and to vehicles which are constructed or adapted and configured to carry passengers seated in wheelchairs, or vehicles which are fully electric, or plug in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles the type and design of the vehicle to be agreed by the Executive Director of Neighbourhoods, Communities and Housing.

Supporting documents:

 


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